Northern Ireland baby bath firm Shnuggle fights on after losing legal battle
A Northern Ireland baby products company has vowed to fight on after losing a copyright infringement battle against a US giant in the High Court.
Newtownards firm Shnuggle says it will appeal against the judgment handed down last month in its legal action against US baby products company Munchkin.
The judge ruled that parts of Shnuggle's Baby Bath design had been copied by Munchkin's rival product - but also ruled that the Munchkin design had not copied enough of the Shnuggle design to meet the legal threshold for design infringement.
Shnuggle, founded in 2009 by mechanical engineer Adam Murphy and his wife Sinead, was inspired by the couple's own experiences with their first child Rose, who was born with Down Syndrome and leukaemia and spent her early months fighting for her life.
The couple found traditional baby products were not suited to all babies, especially those suffering from allergies or weakened immune systems.
In 2012, Adam began designing the Shnuggle Baby Bath.
With pioneering features including its non-slip 'bum bump', the bath is the company's bestselling product.
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It is sold through John Lewis, Argos, Boots and Amazon where it became the UK's 'No 1 Best Seller for baby baths and tubs'.
Based in Newtownards, Co Down, Shnuggle exports to more than 40 countries. In 2019, Shnuggle was awarded a Queen's Award in the category 'International Trade for Outstanding Short Term Growth in overseas sales over the last three years'.
Shnuggle hit the headlines when the newly engaged Duke and Duchess of Sussex visited Belfast and were photographed with a Shnuggle Baby Bath, prompting speculation they were thinking of starting a family.
Shnuggle's Adam Murphy said: "We are proud that we stood up for ourselves and have received this finding that Munchkin copied parts of our design - but unfortunately it seems that IP (intellectual property) law has once again failed to protect genuine innovation by finding that Munchkin made sufficient changes not to infringe.
"These findings will have a damaging impact not just on Shnuggle but on hundreds of thousands of small creative British businesses whose designs are copied by bigger competitors.
"We believe there are a number of legal flaws in the judgment and, having consulted our lawyers, we intend to lodge an appeal."