A NORTH-East businesswoman is preparing for a legal battle with a retail giant after over claims it copied her design for a Christmas toy.

Sarah Greenwell, from Durham, created her Elf for Christmas in 2015 after she was unable to find the toy she wanted for her daughter Holly.

The mum-of-two says she was shocked when she recently discovered a product similar to her award-winning toy in the shop B&M, and believes it is a breach of her intellectual property.

Loading article content

Mrs Greenwell said: “It bears a striking resemblance to my product. It’s not just the box, it’s the contents of the kit as well.

“I do feel it infringes on my copyright. We have sent correspondence to B&M and we are waiting for a response.”

B&M denies any intellectual property infringement.

As well as the elf, Mrs Greenwell’s kit also includes good behaviour charts, stickers, report cards and certificates, all aimed at encouraging children to stay on Santa’s “nice list” in the run up to Christmas.

She developed it while on maternity leave with her second child, Fin, and has since won several toy awards and sells it all over the world.

She noticed the B&M elf product online and decided to investigate further.

She said: "I was shocked when I saw it. You hear of this happening to small businesses but you don’t think of it happening to you.

"This is my full time business and I’ve worked really hard to get it off the ground. I think it’s really unfair that it can happen and people can make a profit from something that’s yours. It’s annoying that people can think they can get away with copying it."

She added: "I’m definitely not going to back down. I want to make a stand for other small businesses, not just myself."

A B&M spokeswoman, said: “B&M’s elf was designed by its supplier and any intellectual property infringement is denied.”