As many of you might know, quite a bit controversy was made last month when CaseLabs accused Thermaltake of stealing case designs. In a surprising twist to the story, CaseLabs has now issued an apology to Thermaltake and retracted their previous comments and accusations. The main accusations revolved around how similar certain Thermaltake cases are, which on the face of it, look quite similar to CaseLabs designs.
In their apology, CaseLabs pretty much accepted the most basic reason that Thermaltake had defended themselves with, that cases are simply a box and there are only so many ways to design things in a logical manner. It also seems that CaseLabs did not get any design patents for their cases. That would be the logical way to protect a case design, along the lines of what Apple have used against Samsung in their multi-million dollar lawsuits.
CaseLabs apologizes for accusing Mr. Robb and Thermaltake of “stealing” anything. The look of a computer case will always have some similar features – given its functional nature. CaseLabs retracts its accusations against Thermaltake for “copying other people’s existing concepts and calling them your own” and of producing “rip-off products. CaseLabs acknowledges that it does not own any patents on any of its case products. CaseLabs’ postings, which suggested that litigating to enforce patents would be prohibitively expensive, were misleading, because they implied that CaseLabs actually owned patents, which it does not. CaseLabs regrets this error.
CaseLabs’ apology also goes pretty far in that it apologizes about the fact that it accused Thermaltake and others of being made cheaply overseas made products compared to US products. In fact, CaseLabs rejected “any suggestion that competitors are not entirely free to engage in price competition for such unpatentable products as CaseLabs’ computer cases”. The apology also notes that the firm was wrong in jumping to false accusations and wishes for a return to ethical and vigorous competition. CaseLabs has since taken down their accusation post and is requesting LegitReviews, which posted that statement verbatim, take it down too.
Given how polarizing the issue has been for the community, it’s unlikely what people think of the issue might change much. Design patents are a tricky thing as we’ve seen with the Apple and Samsung saga and how bad that was. From the overall situation, it seems the two firms had some discussions in the background about everything and this appears to be the result. I largely agree with Thermaltake that there simply is only so many ways to design a case if you want to achieve a certain feel, look or practicality. Hopefully everyone can just focus on designing good cases and may the best case win. The apology and retraction letters can be found below and Thermaltake’s statement can be found here.