Ikea Faces Legal Action Over Alleged Copyright Infringement

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American furniture brand Emeco is to sue Ikea for damages for allegedly copying a chair developed by Norman Foster.

The American business alleges that Ikea’s Melltorp dining chair, by Swedish designer Ola Wihlborg, is comparable to its 20-06 Stacking Chair, developed by Foster in 2006.

Emeco has filed a design appropriate and copyright infringement case against the Swedish furnishings giant at Munich District Court in Germany and a hearing is scheduled for September.

Norman Foster's 20-06 chair for Emeco Norman Foster’s 20-06 Stacking Chair for Emeco

Pennsylvania-primarily based Emeco, which specialises in aluminium furnishings, is seeking damages and would like Ikea to cease manufacturing the merchandise.

“A hearing is scheduled for September in Munich,” Emeco chairman Gregg Buchbinder told Dezeen. “We have commenced an action towards Ikea in Germany for damages and to end making the chair.”


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In a statement, Josefin Thorell from Ikea’s group corporate communication department stated that Ikea “in no way deliberately copies items”.

“Ikea does not comment especially on any approaching or ongoing legal proceedings,” she said. “However, on the topic of design, Ikea in no way deliberately copies goods sold by other firms or designers. Design is of best relevance for Ikea and is an integral element of the Ikea vision and organization idea.”

But Alev Öztas, Emeco’s vice president of sales and advertising, mentioned that, in his viewpoint, the Ikea chair was “extremely, very equivalent” to Emeco’s merchandise. “When [individuals] see that quite, extremely similar model in an Ikea catalogue at a fully various price range, of course it damages our enterprise,” she explained.

Norman Foster's 20-06 chair for Emeco Norman Foster’s 20-06 Stacking Chair for Emeco

The 20-06 Stacking Chair, created by British architect Norman Foster, is a slimline tribute to Emeco’s iconic Navy chair, which is also identified as the 1006 and was very first introduced in 1944 for use on US Navy submarines.

The two Emeco chairs are handmade from 80 per cent recycled aluminium utilizing a proprietary 77-phase approach, which includes forming, welding, grinding, tempering and ultimately anodising and hand-brushing the metal.

Like its predecessor, the 20-06 has an estimated lifespan of 150 many years but uses 15 per cent less aluminium and weighs just 3.2kg. It retails in the United kingdom for about £540.

Ikea’s stacking Melltorp chair characteristics a powder-coated steel frame and a polypropylene seat and backrest. It weights five.6kg and retails for £20 in the United kingdom.

Melltorp chair illustration by Ikea Illustration of the Melltorp dining chair by Ola Wihlborg for Ikea

Emeco has resorted to legal action to defend its designs on several events in the previous. In 2013 it reached a settlement with US furniture retailer Restoration Hardware, which it had accused of copying the Navy chair. Restoration Hardware agreed to cease marketing the product.

In 2014, Emeco reached settlements with two much more furniture firms that it had accused of copying the Navy chair and the Philippe Starck-designed Kong chair. In the very same year house-rental brand Airbnb removed a set of aluminium chairs from its San Francisco headquarters after Emeco pointed out they were fake Navy chairs.

In a video interview with Dezeen in 2013, Emeco’s Buchbinder expressed his aggravation at firms that copied his products.

“In today’s marketplace people are hunting for cost-effective factors, and I understand that and there is a marketplace for that,” he said. “It truly is one thing that, as a producer that puts a whole lot of time and hard work into the development and investigation and every little thing else, is a really hard factor to swallow.”

Dezeen

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