– Great job, Bohus!
This is how Annette Hoff, who is the sales agent for the Danish interior brand The Oak Men in Norway, begins the Facebook post where she raises harsh criticism of Bohus’ new Christmas decorations.
– This is not OK. This is not the first time a large Norwegian furniture chain has copied, she writes in the post.
Dagbladet has sent Bohus all the allegations that appear in this case. After repeated reminders on both phone, text message and email, they have not responded to the criticism.
– Virtually identical
Annette Hoff thinks the new Christmas trees, which have been named “Tora” and the light board they stand on, are remarkable, as are the Christmas decorations for The Oak Men.
– Exactly these two products were first launched in 2014, and have become a big hit. Both the light boards and the trees have become a big bestseller for The Oak Men. They have really found their way into Norwegian homes, she says.
Hoff says that The Oak Men first learned about the products from retailers who had discovered the similarity. Over the weekend, she must have received several messages from stores around the country.
– The boards for The Oak Men are made by hand in Denmark. I have not been able to compare quality, but when we discover that a large chain like Bohus has made something that is virtually identical, it can be almost catastrophic for The Oak Men.
– Has regardless of responsibility
Hoff is quite clear that she likes the products very much.
– There is something with the concept. The board has magnetic candlesticks, and you can move the lights around. Had they come up with one of the products, it could have been an innocent mistake. But when you set the table with the simple trees, it gets a little too close.
Hoff points out that it is very time to develop a design and a whole concept.
– When someone comes in, takes the product and has it manufactured at low cost, it is done quickly, she says, and adds:
– If Bohus wanted to come up with some new and exciting Christmas decorations, they could turn to Norwegian designers and create something new, instead of buying a copy of a well-known, Danish Christmas decoration. Although Bohus has purchased in this from the importer, it has regardless of the responsibility to check the copyright of the design on the sellers’ products.
Requires products removed
She tells Oak Men in Denmark has now put forward a demand that Bohus’ products be removed.
In any case, it is forbidden to imitate a product in such a way that it is considered an unreasonable use of another effort. Well in the first instance, Oak Men talks to his lawyer in Denmark to find out how they should handle the case further.
In Denmark, there have been several things in recent years with smaller design companies that have gone to the case, which have copied their products.
An example of this is the designer Anne Black who sued Denmark’s largest supermarket Netto, after they sold imitations of three of her ceramic products: a vase, a hanging pot and a jar.
She took the case to court and won first in the Maritime and Commercial Court, according to the Danish law firm DLA Piper.
Had stolen design
The other party appealed to the Supreme Court, which concluded that only one of the three ceramic products was copyrighted.
The court found that the other products are protected against trademarks under the Marketing Act.
– The Supreme Court determines the sphere of protection for applied art and the demarcation between protection under the Copyright Act and the Marketing Act on the basis of EU case law, the law firm writes.
In a case between the Danish ceramicist Kasper Würtz and Christian Bitz and the wholesale company F&H, Würtz was upheld in March 2020 in that Bitz had stolen design from him. It writes Danish BT.
Christian Bitz ‘and F & H’s appeal was rejected in September, and the verdict is therefore final, writes the local newspaper Horsens Folkeblad.
– Can ruin a business
According to Annette Hoff, it is a known fact from the furniture and interior design industry that one can be copied.
– There are many large furniture and interior design companies that are in litigation constantly because they are copied by others. It’s not okay, but it happens, Hoff claims.
Annette Hoff also runs the Norwegian company Fram Oslo, where they develop new products in collaboration with Norwegian designers.
– Precisely for this reason, I am particularly interested in cracking down on companies that deliberately copy others’ designs and concepts for their own gain. It is devastating to the industry and can ruin a business, she claims.