In March 2018, McDaniel & Co client and award-winning designer and manufacturer of baby products, BabaBing, launched its Mani baby changing backpack.
Like most of BabaBing's products, the Mani is a carefully designed backpack which encompasses a number of specific design features aimed at allowing the bag to function as either a stylish tote bag or a backpack changing bag.
In January 2019, Keighley based BabaBing discovered that Aldi was selling a near-identical version of the Mani in its stores, but for under half the RRP of the original. The Aldi copy was being sold as part of a baby-themed Specialbuy event. The Aldi Specialbuy events occur weekly and entail the supermarket stocking limited supplies of cheap products in a particular category (home, garden, baby etc) in all of its locations around the country.
As a result of the alleged infringement, we wrote to Aldi's legal department setting out how the design rights that subsist in the Mani bag had allegedly been infringed by Aldi's 'baby change backpack'.
Without any admission of liability, solicitors for Aldi communicated that they would not be selling the product again in the future.
Unfortunately, for small companies like BabaBing who design and manufacture high quality, original designs, it is all too common to see bigger companies using their financial muscle and reputation to bully small businesses and copy their ideas.
In a good turn of events for BabaBing, the David v Goliath-esque story has now caught the attention of a number of news agencies who have been shocked by Aldi's actions. The BBC's report on the matter can be accessed here.
Niall Head-Rapson, Director of McDaniel & Co has also spoken with Nicky Campbell and Rachel Burden about the matter on this morning's BBC 5 Live Breakfast programme. The conversation on the matter can be listened to here and starts at 2:54.
Managing/Technical Director of BabaBing, Nick Robinson, appeared on yesterday's Victoria Derbyshire show discussing the matter and how the damage caused by such copying is disastrous to small family run businesses such as BabaBing. The programme can be accessed here and starts at 52:10.
Sufficient negative press around the copying that larger businesses think they can get away with may make them think twice before so slavishly copying from small businesses. It may also help consumers to think more ethically about the way in which they shop.
If you have any questions on the above, please do not hesitate to contact the team at McDaniel & Co. on 0191 281 4000 or firstname.lastname@example.org.Posted by: in: Designs, Legal News, News