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Local replica furniture business “surprised” by legal action

Local replica furniture supplier Matt Blatt is being taken to the Federal Court by American manufacturer Herman Miller for its use of the “Eames” brand, and Founder Adam Drexler has told Dynamic Business of his “surprise” at the legal action.

Herman Miller owns the Eames trademark, and is taking Matt Blatt before the Federal Court for infringing trademark, breaking the Trade Practices Act and Australian Consumer Law and for “passing off” replica furniture as the real products it sells.

Drexler told Dynamic Business he was surprised by Herman Miller’s court action, as the company has been selling replicas of the American’s designs for over six years.

“[We’re also surprised] because we go to great lengths to make it clear that our products are replicas only and that we have no connection, association or affiliation with the designers or manufacturers of the genuine “Eames” furniture.”

Drexler said he intends to fight claims by Herman Miller his business has infringed trademark and contravened the Trade Practices Act and Australian Consumer Law, saying he strongly believes they haven’t engaged in misleading or deceptive conduct.

“There is no prohibition under Australian law, per se, from selling replicas of designer furniture which are not protected by a registered design.”

Drexler also said he suspects the case may have an impact on intellectual property laws in this country.

“I believe it has that potential [to impact IP laws], at least in so far as the survival of the replica designer furniture market in Australia, which is not insubstantial, is concerned.”

Matt Blatt has stores in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

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Lorna Brett

Lorna Brett

Lorna was Dynamic Business’ Social Web Editor in 2011/12. She’s a social media obsessed journalist, who has a passion for small business. Outside the 9 to 5, you’re likely to find her trawling the web for online bargains, perfecting her amateur photography skills or enjoying one too many cappucinos. You can follow her on <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/dynamicbusiness">Twitter @DynamicBusiness</a>

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