Shower firm stops rival from copying its design
ONE of Cheltenham's biggest employers has won a court battle to prevent a rival company copying the design for one of its award-winning showers.
Kohler Mira has been producing a range of showers at its 12-acre site in Cromwell Road, Cheltenham since the 1930s and employs 700 people in the county.
Now a Patents County Court judge has found one of its rivals, Bristan Group, copied the design of Kohler Mira's Azora electric shower with its Glee, Joy and Smile shower products.
The firm could now be forced to pay out thousands of pounds to the Cheltenham company to cover lost profits.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Sunday, May 26 2013
Hearing the case, Judge Birss QC said the Mira Azora had been "a very significant departure in the field of electric showers when it was launched in 2006".
But bosses at Kohler Mira's believed that, when the Bristan Glee, Joy and Smile showers were launched, the products infringed its intellectual property rights and raised their concerns with Bristan in 2011.
The judge found all similarities between Bristan's Glee, Joy and Smile products and the Mira Azora product arose "because of copying".
As a consequence of the finding, Staffordshire-based Bristan will have to pay damages or account to Kohler Mira for its profits on past sales of all three of its infringing products as well as pay licence fees in the future.
It is the second time Kohler Mira has taken action to protect the intellectual property rights of Azora.
In 2010, it reached an out of court settlement with Triton Showers which resulted in the removal of the Inscriptions shower range.
Kohler Mira's marketing director Craig Baker said: "Kohler Mira invests significantly in research and development in the UK and it's unacceptable our competitors try to acquire the same brand traction as ourselves on the cheap."
Bristan Group denied copying and said the Patents County Court judge had rejected Kohler Mira's claim it had infringed the registered design but found it had infringed the remaining unregistered designs.
Bosses at the Bristan Group said they may appeal against the ruling.