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Cambridge Satchel Company settles copyright dispute

Leather satchel brand The Cambridge Satchel Company has settled its case against rival Zatchels for infringement of intellectual property rights.

An out of court agreement has been reached, resulting in Zatchels having to pay an undisclosed sum to The Cambridge Satchel Company. 

The Cambridge Satchel Company filed the case against Zatchels’ parent company and manufacturer, Leicester Remedials & Sewing, at the High Court in October 2011. It sought compensation and damages for breach of contract and the unlawful use of goods including valuable leather stocks, thought to be worth in the region of £60,000.

The claim was filed at the High Court in London on October 4, alleging that Leicester Remedials & Sewing, which was formerly the manufacturer for The Cambridge Satchel Company, used the brand’s designs, patterns and leather to set up Zatchels in direct competition.

Chris Sleep, intellectual property lawyer for Birketts who acted for The Cambridge Satchel Company, said:  “One of the inevitabilities of establishing a successful brand is that there will be others who will look to take shortcuts by copying. 

“This case shows the importance of implementing a brand protection policy, including taking steps to register trademarks and designs, but also to actively enforce those rights against infringers, as The Cambridge Satchel Company did with Zatchels.”

The Cambridge Satchel Company was set up in Cambridge by Julie Deane in 2008. In 2010, following an increase in demand, Deane contracted Leicester Remedials & Sewing as a manufacturer.

A statement from Zatchels regarding the case said: “Whist we strongly consider the claim to be speculative and unfounded, with all of the costs and unpleasantness involved with a high court action, we have decided to settle the claim with a payment. This is to avoid a protracted and long drawn out litigation so that we are able to concentrate on our business, which continues to flourish.

“The designs we have been offering over the last few months will continue to be offered and are not affected by this settlement. It is not in any way relevant to our current trading position.

“The commercial reality of this type of litigation means it was more attractive to settle with a payment, than to continue to argue, which will serve to detract us as the directors from continuing to grow and support our very successful business.

“We are sufficiently satisfied with this outcome and now with this behind us we look forward to a long and successful future with Zatchels.”

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