Since we stand behind our products in all markets, we feel it is very important that U.S. retailers and consumers are assured that they are getting the original reisenthel carrybag when they purchase this design
Gilching, Germany (Vocus) March 16, 2010
After a lengthy legal battle with a Chicago-based manufacturer, German design company reisenthel once again prevailed against the marketing of knock-off products. The U.S. case (#1:09-cv-04971 U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division) focused specifically on the carrybag, reisenthel’s iconic product, which was granted a design patent in 2005.
As it was impossible to reach an out-of-court agreement, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois entered a Consent Order whereby the Chicago-based manufacturer acknowledged on the eve of the preliminary injunction hearing, the validity of reisenthel’s carrybag patent and agreed to cease production, importation and marketing of products with the unique and distinguished reisenthel look. The knock-offs already produced were surrendered to reisenthel who is taking efforts to destroy the knock-offs and recycle the discards. Important to reisenthel, as a non-US company, is that the Chicago District Court retained jurisdiction over the case to enforce the terms.
“Although in the U.S. we do not have the long history we have in Europe, we nevertheless did not shy away from the prospect of a lengthy legal battle,” says Peter Reisenthel, the company’s founder and managing director. “The outcome of this case was a huge success for us and will define our future strategy in the U.S.”
This case also covers claims of trade dress of all reisenthel products with the same design consisting of a partially exposed frame with intermittent straps whereby the exposed portion of the frame has the appearance of aluminum.
This is not the first time reisenthel has instituted an action in a U.S. court, as the other U.S. court actions have been resolved by confidential settlement agreements between reisenthel and other manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers. However, outside the US, the company has successfully protected its products on a broad scale in Germany as well as in Denmark. “Since we stand behind our products in all markets, we feel it is very important that U.S. retailers and consumers are assured that they are getting the original reisenthel carrybag when they purchase this design,” concludes Mr. Reisenthel.
Representing reisenthel in the U.S. was Catherine Hoffman, Esq., who is also a member of the Coalition Against Counterfeiting, a business coalition which is led by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Intellectual Property Center. “Regardless of the retail value of a product, its patented design must be protected in all areas of trade. I applaud reisenthel for pursuing this infringement action in the U.S. as it shows not only how strongly they feel about the brand worldwide, but it also demonstrates the respect they have for the U.S. retailer and consumer.”
reisenthel is a 39 year old German company with a concept to make products that are extremely functional and versatile – perfect for everyday mobility and storage needs. The products are practical, intelligently designed and well made, through first-class design that results in the perfect blend of form and function. reisenthel products have been awarded numerous design awards, including the prestigious international red dot design & Design Plus awards, ranked among the largest and most renowned design competitions in the world.