Anti Copying in Design (ACID) member Emma Fung (trading as I Am Fem) runs an accessories business through online ecommerce sites and was shocked to discover that one of her biggest sellers, a cup holder, had been copied by Pretty Little Thing, the online fashion retailer. Following a letter before action (LBA), despite admitting liability, Pretty Little Thing removed the product from sale with an undertaking not to stock the product again.
On discovering the knock off, Emma immediately contacted Adam Turley of ACID Legal Affiliates to benefit from initial free legal advice. As Emma had registered her coffee cup holder design with the Intellectual Property Office for the coffee cup holder Adam advised her, she had a strong case and she then instructed McDaniels Law to act on her behalf. McDaniels then wrote a cease-and-desist letter on her behalf to Pretty Little Thing in respect of infringement of her registered and unregistered design rights.
Pretty Little Thing responded to the cease and desist letter to deny any liability in respect of their product but also confirmed that they would remove the product from sale and instruct their buying team to not stock the product again. This was an outcome that Emma was happy with, being able to get a competing product removed from sale at a reasonably low cost.
Emma Fung commented: “I’m so grateful for the support and advice I received from Mcdaniels Law in achieving this outcome. It’s a daunting task facing such a large-scale, fast fashion retailer; one I wouldn’t have been able to face without the resources offered through ACID. Although Pretty Little Thing denied liability, removing the product from sale is a big step for my small business and my design rights.”
Adam Turley, Director at McDaniels Law also commented: “This was a good result for Emma forcing a national retailer to remove a product from sale and I am very pleased for Emma that she had the courage of her convictions to pursue this. It was also made easier by the fact that Emma had the foresight to register her product as a design with the Intellectual Property Enterprise.”
ACID CEO Dids Macdonald, OBE., said, “This is typical of the David v Goliath copying issues facing SME design innovators and we will be using this example along with many others in our talks with Government to strengthen the resolve against those retailers who think they will not be held to account. Had Emma not challenged them through McDaniels, this could have had a detrimental effect on her market share. Pretty Little Things’ denial of liability is a fairly typical response we see, stopping selling a knock off when legally challenged, to counter any reputational damage.”