- Natasha Courtenay-Smith sues Nangialai and Ehsanullah Takanai for copyright
The designer of an eco-friendly shopping bag admired by the Princess of Wales has launched a legal battle against two Afghan businessmen.
Furious Natasha Courtenay-Smith, 46, has accused Nangialai and Ehsanullah Takanai of ripping off her iconic The Notting Hill Shopping bags at Portobello Road Market.
The famous tote bag, which comes in different colours, is regularly snapped up by tourists from America to South Korea.
Kate Middleton was gifted two of the bags in 2015 when she visited the famous street market.
The Takanais have been accused of selling similar designs and call theirs The Notting Hill Shopper bag. Ms Courtenay-Smith alleges they are trying to dupe shoppers into believing it is her product.
Ms Courtenay-Smith is suing the pair at the High Court for a breach of copyright after finding out the Takanais were selling what she says are copies of her bags in January 2023.
The Takanais deny the accusations and have lodged their own counterclaim saying it is ‘a banal arrangement of words’.
The famous Notting Hill shopping bag, which comes in different colours, is regularly snapped up by tourists from America to South Korea
Furious Natasha Courtenay-Smith, 46, (pictured) has accused Nangialai and Ehsanullah Takanai of ripping off her iconic tote bags at Portobello Road Market
They say the logo ‘lacks the degree of originality necessary for protection as an artistic work’.
The Telegraph reports the court will hear claims from the Takanias that representatives had approached The Notting Hill Bag Company in January last year and had asked to enter into an agreement in order to sell the bags with her trademark, logo and brand name. They claim this request was refused.
Ms Courtenay-Smith designed the cotton and jute eco bag in 2009 and it inspired the entrepreneur and former journalist to launch Biz Kids – free daily online business classes teaching children how to be their own boss.
It was immortalised in a piece of artwork in 2015 to celebrate 150 years of Portobello market.
The bags are officially stocked in a number of shops and stalls along Portobello market.
Ms Courtenay-Smith donates 10 per cent of her profits to causes which promote Notting Hill and Portobello Road Market.
In a joint statement with her business partners Canpolat An and Taylor An, Ms Courtenay-Smith told MailOnline: ‘While imitation is often seen as a form of flattery, we encourage originality.
The Takanias are accused of copying a number of Notting Hill shopping bag designs including the original version (right)
The bags are officially stocked in a number of shops and stalls along Portobello market and come in a variety of colours
The bag was immortalised in a piece of artwork in 2015 to celebrate 150 years of Portobello market
Kate Middleton was gifted two Notting Hill shopping bags when she visited Potobello market in 2015
‘We simply request that others create their own designs, rather than copying ours. We are both confident in the legal standing of the Notting Hill Shopping Bag design, and committed to its continued mission of making a positive difference to the Portobello Road community.
‘We remain focused on the future, continuing the good work that has defined the Notting Hill Shopping Bag for more than a decade to many more decades to come.
‘We appreciate the attention this case has garnered and hope it highlights the importance of originality, sustainability, and community support in business practices.’
The Takanias solicitors, JP Mitchell, told The Telegraph their bags have been on sale for a number of years and that ‘there hasn’t been a single instance of confusion over this period’.