Ikea’s popular Malm series has put the Swedish furniture giant in hot water again, this time with its minimalist bed frame. German modern furniture company e15 claims that Ikea copied its SL02 Mo bed, which its co-founder Philipp Mainzer designed in 1999.
Ikea’s Malm bed features the same construction as the Mo: a recessed platform with a thin ledge on either side, a low, flat footboard, and a taller headboard. The similarities between the two bed frames are undeniable. Yet it’s the difference in materials from which they are made that distinguishes the two.
E15’s frame is constructed in solid European oak or walnut, while Ikea’s is made with oak-veneered fiber- and particleboard. The former retails for about €3,000 (about $3,300), while the Malm starts at $179 for a full and queen, and $249 for a king—a difference that puts the two beds in markets on polar opposites of the consumer-spending spectrum. Still, Mainzer claims that customers have complained about the discrepancy in price.
The case has already gone through the Dusseldorf courts, which came down on the side of Ikea twice already. e15 has now appealed to Germany's supreme court, which expects to make a ruling next year. Earlier this year Hannover, Pennsylvania-based Emeco settled out of court with Ikea over the former’s claim that Ikea copied its 20-06 stacking aluminum chair designed by architect Norman Foster.