Herman Miller Upholds Win in Ongoing Fight to Protect Iconic Designs from Trademark Infringement
Herman Miller was awarded a substantial victory over Blumenthal Distributing Inc. dba Office Star Products in a fight against trademark infringement of some of the company’s most iconic products—the Thin and Soft Pad Eames Chairs. The June 25, 2020 decision, made by the Ninth Circuit Court, upheld an earlier jury decision that concluded that the Eames Aluminum Group trade dress was infringed by Office Star.
The decision marks an important point in Herman Miller’s ongoing quest to protect its iconic furniture designs from infringement and being produced as knockoffs, a problem they have been fighting for decades. “The economic devastation to corporate revenue, shareholder return, and job losses caused by infringers and knockoffs is unacceptable and must be stopped. Our fight against infringers is about more than protecting the intellectual property, legacy, customers, and future of Herman Miller, it’s about protecting companies, designers, and consumers around the world from knockoff products,” stated Herman Miller President and Chief Executive Officer, Andi Owen. “These practices steal the rightful credit that is due to the original designer, many of whom have dedicated their lives to perfecting these products only to see frauds popping up in the marketplace.”
In total, the Court upheld $3.3M in damages that Herman Miller was awarded during the original 2017 trial. In addition, the Court mandated a retrial of the company’s Aeron Chair trade dress claim based on incorrect jury instructions in the earlier trial. “We are encouraged that the courts continue to rule in our favor, and we will remain vigilant in protecting our customers against knockoff Herman Miller products while ensuring the integrity and value of the iconic designs that are such an important part of our company’s unique legacy,” said Owen.
Herman Miller has successfully defended trade dress on several of its iconic designs and continues to be an outspoken advocate for authentic design everywhere. The company is a charter member of Be Original Americas, a 501(c)6 non-profit committed to informing, educating, and influencing manufacturers, design professionals, and consumers about the economic, ethical, and environmental value of authentic design.
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About Herman Miller
Herman Miller is a globally recognized provider of furnishings and related technologies and services. Since its inception in 1905, the company has relied on innovative design to help people do great things. The global design leader has evolved into Herman Miller Group, a family of brands that collectively offers a variety of products for environments where people live, learn, work, and heal. The family of brands includes Colebrook Bosson Saunders, Design Within Reach, Geiger, HAY, Maars Living Walls, Maharam, naughtone, Nemschoff, and Herman Miller. For more information visit www.hermanmiller.com/about-us