A graphic designer in Hong Kong, Flora Leung Kei-yiu, has filed a lawsuit against British luxury brand Smythson alleging copyright infringement over a design for card slots in a wallet.
The designer is claiming that the luxury brand copied her design and imported the product into Hong Kong. She claims that the design was "substantially similar" to that of her products, the South China Morning Post reports.
"In particular, [Symthson] has adopted a geometric design which is very similar to the signature design feature in the card slots," she claimed in her writ filed in the High Court.
Leung, who launched her own brand Matter Matter in July 2013, alleged that she was questioned by a handbag designer in Milan on the originality of the design of her products in February 2016. The designer alleged that Leung's design was copied from Smythson, the writ said.
Leung added that it took substantial time and effort to clarify that her products had hit the market way before the British brand's ones did. She also said that a retailer that sold her wallet stopped selling her product and allegedly started selling Smythson's products within the same year.
Smythson has denied infringement and has claimed that the firm came up with the design for the wallet months before the publication of Leung's design.
Leung is seeking to have the British brand stop copying the design. She is also claiming for an unspecified amount in damages.
On its wesbite, Smythson says it has catered to European royalty and the Indian Maharajas, besides listinf celebrities such as Grace Kelly, Katharine Hepburn, Claudette Colbert and Vivien Leigh as its customers. The brand - which was set up 125 years ago - holds three Royal Warrants - from the Queen in 1964, the Prince of Wales in 1980 and the Duke of Edinburgh in 2002.
When Queen Mother's Warrant was in existence, it was one of eight companies to hold all four royal warrants at the same time, it boasts on its website. Royal Warrants are given to companies who have supplied goods or services for at least five years to the households of the British royal family.