Gifts Today magazine

Reiko Kaneko stops cheap imitations

Stoke-on-Trent-based ceramics designer Reiko Kaneko takes legal action to stop the sell of cheap imitations of her Breakfast Express Train product 

When Reiko Kaneko Ltd discovered retailer Joy selling a tableware product, which it called the Egg and Soldiers Train, that looked extremely like Reiko Kaneko’s playful ceramic Breakfast Express Train, Reiko Kaneko decided to take action.

Reiko instructed Gavin Llewellyn (of ACID legal affiliate firm Stone King LLP), to write to Joy asserting the company’s rights in the unregistered design. Contact was also made with Sifcon International, which was importing the items. Both parties denied any knowledge of the alleged infringement.

Negotiations followed with Sifcon to stop further items being imported and to obtain compensation for the items, which they had imported. A settlement was quickly agreed.

Reiko Kaneko’s high quality bone china train set with birch wheels and coaches, which attach with hidden magnets, the Breakfast Express Train is a highly original tableware design made in Stoke-On-Trent, the home of pottery. The Egg and Soldiers Train being imported by Sifcon was by comparison clearly a cheaply made imitation, made by a factory in China.

Reiko Kaneko says: “I am relieved to have been able to put a stop to the Egg and Soldiers Train being imported. It has certainly encouraged me to stand up for my creative works in the future and I am grateful to ACID and Stone King solicitors to have resolved the matter so effectively.”

ACID Affiliate Lawyer Gavin Llewellyn of Stone King LLP says:“Designs which are the output of many years of learning a craft and creative thinking can often be ruined by cheap imitations flooding the market which take away their exclusivity and appeal. It is vital to protect this creativity and the viability of the business which depends upon it. The various rights which the law creates to protect designs of all types is complex, but it usually does provide a remedy and I am delighted that Reiko Kaneko was able to achieve a good outcome in this case. It is important in all cases to act quickly and let retailers and importers know about your rights so as to limit ongoing damage to your business.”

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