Cambridge Satchel Company settles with imitator

The Cambridge Satchel Company has scored a victory in its battle against imitators, securing a settlement payment of an undisclosed sum from copycat company Zatchels.

The original retro satchel supplier settled its suit for ‘infringement of intellectual property rights’ against Zatchels.

Julie Deane, who founded The Cambridge Satchel Company from her kitchen table in 2008, contracted some of her manufacturing to Leicester Remedials and Sewing in 2010 when demand exceeded her production capacity. In 2011, bloggers tipped Deane off that Leicester Remedials—by now trading as Zatchels—had introduced near-identical products.

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Deane said she had been ‘overwhelmed by the support for our brand’.

‘I want to raise awareness of the misconduct that has taken place and to assure our customers that we will stick to our principles and continue to create the best products for them,’ Deane said in a statement regarding the settlement. ‘Despite this negative experience, The Cambridge Satchel Company remains committed to manufacturing in the UK.’

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Zatchels directors Dean Clarke and Brian Brady said that although they considered the litigation 'speculative and unfounded', they settled 'to avoid a protracted and long drawn out litigation so that we are able to concentrate on our business'. They were 'extremely disappointed' to learn of The Cambridge Satchel Company's release today, since the settlement was agreed some months ago.

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

Deane’s humble satchels are now stocked stores in 86 countries and have been spotted on celebrities including Alexa Chung and Elle Fanning. Her most successful range—the Fluoros collection—arose after an ELLE UK editor requested a bright satchel for a photo shoot in the magazine. Since then, the company has collaborated with Dover Street Market, SupremeBeing and even Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner, who commissioned custom satchels bearing the Sterling Cooper Draper Price logo as an end-of-season gift for the cast.

Earlier this year, Deane said the company she founded with £600 was on track to register $14 million, or £8.8 million, in sales in 2012.

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