Woman taking on B&M over design ‘theft’
LEGAL STORM OVER ELF
Sarah Greenwell’s design is on the left A businesswoman is hoping to raise £50,000 to fund her David and Goliath legal battle after claims a high street shop stole her toy design.
Sarah Greenwell launched her Elf for Christmas product three years ago but now she is fighting B&M after spotting what she says is an almost identical design.
The mum-of-two, from Durham, said: “I have been involved in conversations with B&M for two months and sadly they are denying any infringement and are refusing to take if off the shelves.”
She claims the store’s Magical Christmas Elf has a ‘very similar design and in some places identical language’ to her Elf for Christmas after spotting the product this September.
As her action against B&M gets under way, Sarah has created a GoFundMe page to raise £50,000 to cover legal costs.
So far, a little more than £1,000 has been raised.
Sarah added: “I’m really amazed at the support from everybody who donated. It’s strangers not people I
know. We had a thousand pounds donated in the first day.
“There’s a long way to go, it’s a long drawn out process.
“I’m not prepared to give up. I’m a tiny business and I imagine they think I can’t afford to take it any further or I won’t.
“I feel really nervous about the whole thing but I can’t just let them do this to my business.”
Sarah, who is mum to five-yearold Holly and Finley, three, says there has been confusion among customers over the two designs.
“A lot of people think they can buy our product cheaper elsewhere but it’s not our product that they are buying. The message we’re getting back is to shop independent and support small business.”
Sarah set up her business Big Little Toys during her maternity leave three years ago and now sells her products all over the world.
The long-legged, cute-faced Elf, wearing a traditional red and green outfit was designed by Sarah, who says she designed the toy following a great deal of research and investment, she initially commissioned 3,000 to be made.
Working with her husband to package up the dolls, the firm sold out in its first year and upped production numbers to capitalise on its success last Christmas.
As well as the Elf for Christmas, Sarah also sells personalised storybooks and individual letters from the North Pole.
She said: “A lot of positive things have happened in the business but I have got that nightmare looming over me. I should be concentrating on spreading the magic and not this problem.”
A B&M spokeswoman said: “B&M has taken counsel’s advice on this matter and is confident that its Magical Christmas Elf does not infringe Ms Greenwell’s product which is itself inspired by the highly successful ‘Elf on a Shelf’ product in the US. The matter is being dealt with by both sides’ respective lawyers and it would be inappropriate to comment further.”