IP Infringement Update 2022
IP Infringement Statement 2022
Bonnington Plastics, the company behind the Kingfisher gardening and homewares brand, has secured a large - figure settlement from an online company for intellectual infringement.
The infringers were keen to capitalise on the reputation of Bonnington's Kingfisher brand.
After developing innovative software to monitor the sales of its products online, Bonnington discovered that companies were advertising Kingfisher goods on sites such as Amazon and eBay. However, the companies were supplying their own branded products under the Kingfisher listings.
Importer Bonningtons, which established its Kingfisher brand in 1967, does not sell directly on Amazon or eBay but its retail customers use the sites to sell Kingfisher products.
Mr Tartaglia said "We found that these companies were advertising Kingfisher products at impossibly low prices. This was causing our other online and retail customers to believe that we were offering better prices to their competitors. We started buying from these companies and found out that they weren't supplying Kingfisher goods at all. It was really damaging the brand and I decided that enough was enough."
Bonningtons estimates that these 'substitute sellers' were costing the business about £1m a year in lost sales, and its in-house investigations showed that, at the peak of the problem, one in every two items advertised online as Kingfisher was a substitute product. Bonningtons said a number of companies had started to import their own products from China. Keen to capitalise on the reputation of the Kingfisher brand, the companies then piggy-backed on the Kingfisher listings, supplying their own branded products, tricking consumers into thinking they were purchasing legitimate Kingfisher goods at a discounted price.
Mr Tartaglia added: "The goods looked almost identical to Kingfisher products. The packaging was so similar that it was difficult to tell them apart.
"This is a fantastic result for Bonnington and sends a strong message to the market that infringement of its IP rights will not be tolerated. We are working closely with Pannone of Manchester who helped us successfully secure this settlement for the same issue several years ago. They are helping Bonnington take action against a number of other group of companies and their directors, and they are committed to helping our company stamp out this problem. Mr Tartaglia also explained that, whilst good progress had been made, putting a stop to the practice of substitute selling presented significant challenges. "Each product sold on Amazon is given an ASIN (Amazon Standard Identification Number)," he said. "Amazon allows sellers to upload products with a new ASIN or to an existing ASIN (if they are selling an identical product). However, some companies are taking advantage of this function and advertising their own products under an established brand's listing in order to take advantage of the superior ranking and pulling power of that brand."
Bonningtons has vowed to continue its crusade against the online infringers, and its approach to the protection of its IP,
Mr Tartaglia has stated watch this space for more details of more settlements