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Entrepreneur behind shopping bag admired by Kate Middleton takes breach of copyright case

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The entrepreneur behind an eco-friendly shopping bag admired by the Princess of Wales has launched a legal battle against two shopkeepers – accusing them of copying her design, writes Matt Strudwick.

Natasha Courtenay-Smith, 46, claims Nangialai and Ehsanullah Takanai have ripped off her iconic The Notting Hill Shopping bags and are selling their version at their shop at Portobello Road Market in west London.

The tote bag, which comes in different colours, is regularly snapped up by tourists.

Kate Middleton was given two of them in 2015 when she visited the street market.

Ms Courtenay-Smith alleges that the Takanais, who call their version The Notting Hill Shopper bag, are trying to dupe shoppers into believing it is her product.

She is suing the pair at the High Court for a breach of copyright after finding out they were selling what she says are copies of her bags in January last year.

The Takanais deny the accusations and have lodged a counterclaim, saying the name of the bag is “a banal arrangement of words” and the logo “lacks the degree of originality necessary for protection as an artistic work”.

The Telegraph reported that the court will hear claims from the Takanais that their 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. 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 on the famous street.

Ms Courtenay Smith donates 10 per cent of her profits to causes that promote Notting Hill and the 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.

Natasha Courtenay-Smith alleges that the Notting Hill Shopper Bag is too similar to her own Notting Hill Shopping Bag

“We simply request that others create their own designs, rather than copying ours.”

The Takanais’s 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”.

Photo: Kate Middleton was given two of them in 2015 when she visited the street market. Getty

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