Herman Miller Lawsuit

Zeeland based Herman Miller had filed a lawsuit against New York based Madison Seating, accusing the latter of misrepresentation and misinformation. The case filed in 2015 has a rather simple core issue. Madison Seating was not an authorized reseller of Herman Miller furniture at the time but it was selling its chairs and other items without mentioning if they were brand new or pre-owned and by extension in used condition.

Madison Seating had indeed mentioned Herman Miller as one of the brands it represents on the official website and it did use official furniture images. Customers were shown quality images of swanky furniture and were actually sold pre-owned or used, knockoffs or replicas. Many customers were probably aware of such a reality since they paid far less than what Herman Miller usually charges for its new furniture, believes Arcata Car Accident Lawyer. However, Herman Miller chose to take Madison Seating to court for false representation and misinformation campaign.

This is not the first time Herman Miller has taken action against an online reseller. It had previously used ecommerce sites and brick & mortar retail stores for representing the brand without proper authorization. Strangely though, there has been no word on the eventual settlement. Herman Miller simply stated that the issues have been resolved with Madison Seating and that there are no pending concerns. However, no one knows exactly what the terms of the settlement were, if Madison Seating accepted any wrongdoing and whether or not there was any monetary fine.

The case of Herman Miller could have easily been specifically about trademark infringement since an unauthorized seller cannot go ahead and use any of the products, icons or pictures that are within the ambit of a trademark. Using representative images is also not acceptable. This scenario is not unique or confined to Herman Miller and Madison Seating. Innumerable ecommerce sites or online stores use images without adequate authorization. There are so many affiliate marketers and online stores that it is almost impossible to know if an online reseller is actually authorized to represent a brand.

The problem of counterfeit, knockoff and replica or outright fake products is a concern for the ecommerce industry, adds injury lawyer in Watsonville. There is a reason why some global marketplaces use terms like verified and assured to indicate that the products are definitely authentic and that the ecommerce company stands by the quality of the products. Other products that don’t have such tags do not put the onus of authenticity on the ecommerce site. The specific seller or reseller may be held responsible and might even lose their account on the platform but the customer is still left with a knockoff and in some cases without refunds.

In the case of Herman Miller, the Michigan based company primarily focused on the public impression that Madison Seating created. It appeared they were associated with Herman Miller when they were not. In the past, Herman Miller has sued Canadian company New American, Inc. and Modernica among others. Other similar high end furniture brands have also taken the legal recourse when there have been any kind of infringement.

Different Offices for Different Professions

Ever since offices ventured into the world as a place of work in the late 19th century there has been considerable demand for office furniture. The business is booming and there is a particular style and function unique to every environment. The most basic furniture and equipment that any company needs usually begins with a desk and a chair. In the digital age that we are now in, most work in any office is completed in one space; sitting at a desk in front of a computer maybe with a few trips to the printer and the coffee machine. The scope for choosing the appropriate desk and chair is huge and the sheer amount of options and styles available makes the mind boggle.

Types of Desk – Just at a quick glance you can choose between a contemporary or traditional style. Classic wood or laminate, as well as additional extras depending on the task such as drawers, shelves and lateral file drawers. Unfortunately it’s not as simple of just selecting the first desk you see, different jobs will have different requirements. A draftsman is going to need a considerably large work surface in order to layout drawings and sketches. Whereas a data entry clerk will not require the same amount of space, but will require a work environment that is ergonomically designed in order to reduce the stress and fatigue of sitting in the same position for 8 or more hours a day.
Types of chair – Employees are going to be spending the majority of their day sitting on their desk chair so a primary concern is comfort. If an employee feels comfortable within their work space they will likely be more productive, in turn benefiting the business. The level of comfort may be different according to the individual but choosing chairs with an adjustable height feature can ensure that employees are able to make their own environment comfortable. A lot of desk chairs also offer features such as adjusting the tilt, back angle and seat angle, as well as being on wheels to enable easy movability.
Choosing the right kind of furniture that is inviting and comfortable to both employees and clients can significantly increase productivity. The colors and designs chosen should represent the identity that the company wants to portray. The overall aesthetic of any office is not just functional but also a marketing opportunity.
Law firm – Many companies around the world are being encouraged to reduce their office footprint, in 2015 this means a re-think of how to furnish a law firm. Many companies are converting to paperless filing systems saving space by getting rid of cumbersome file cabinets. Also a thing of the past is the large oak desk that is the stereotypical view of a lawyer’s office, now most firms are including smaller executive desks that fit in with the new efficient floor plans. Closed door policies are also a thing of the past, and Law firms are embracing the idea of a collaborative workspace, adding in small meeting rooms and lounge areas. The traditional dark colors associated with law firms are being replaced with fun bright colors that are more inviting in an attempt to make clients feel more comfortable.  What also makes a difference is the area of law the Law firm practices. For the more traditional office areas of law, such as estate planning,  the old stereotypical law office is still preferred. But for attorneys that frequent the courtroom more than the office, the specifics of the office environment are not as important. According to San Rafael DUI Attorney Michael Rehm, most attorneys that spend their time in court on a regular basis just want an office that can provide the essentials, such as office equipment for research and writing, and a confidential place to meet clients. Other than that, a trial attorneys office is the courtroom.
Financial services office – Workers in this environment are big fans of privacy, so be prepared to see the traditional office cubicles in full use. Financial services offices handle very sensitive and confidential information and for this purpose they will require a segregated area that can hold secure filing systems in order to store sensitive information.
Medical Office – Although a very different profession to that of a lawyer or financial advisor, a Doctor will still require some of the standard equipment that furnishes offices across the world. They will still need a desk, usually quite a substantial one with ample space for files, and a computer, as well as a comfortable desk chair. However there is some furniture that it would be unlikely to see in the office of a lawyer. Every medical office will feature an exam table complete with overhead, adjustable exam lights. They will also require side tables and trays in order to hold all manner of diagnostic equipment. Most medical offices will go for a color scheme that represents hygiene, e.g. light colors with bright lighting.
Call Center – The call center is a fast paced, busy workplace with a high volume of employees. Space saving is key in this environment, and for that reason call centers tend to stray away from traditional office furniture. Alternatively, they use clusters of desks that can seat between 4 and 12 people, referred to as center pods. A call center has another defining feature, a hell of a lot of wires. Obviously having wires trailing across the floor is a health and safety hazard that no manager needs to deal with, so all desks need to be optimized to safely and discreetly deal with excess wiring.

Call center station
Although it is clear that different business require different designs and furniture for their environments, the technological age has made all manner of businesses more flexible. Many companies now use ‘hot desking’ as a way to conserve both money and space, meaning that instead of employees having specific work stations, they work where there is a space available, minimizing unused space when employees are off work or on their lunch. As well as, in many occupations especially those is media such as in newspaper or magazine offices, employees are encouraged to bring their own devices saving the need for desks that can hold large desktop computers. Also, there is less of a need for storage systems as everything can be stored on a laptop or tablet, with all the information any employee needs being easily accessible at any time.
With more businesses and office buildings springing up every day the demand for office furniture is only going to grow, with more options, more specialisms and more choices, by 2020 our desks will be making our lunch!

The History of the Office

Way back in the 1700’s the word Office was a made up word, a fanciful dream held by clerks that there might someday be a place of work they could leave in the evenings. Any office work in the period was conducted within people’s homes, with clerks acting as live in babysitters, chefs and butlers. But as corporations grew, technology advanced and there became more employees working for every company it was a necessity to have a separate place for office workers to do their jobs. One of the first purpose built offices belonged to the East India Trading Company and was built in London in 1729. The office was originally meant to be a way for workers to have some sort of freedom, but employees soon found that spending six days a week at a desk in the same room was not something to be desired. The workers of the East India Trading Company started the ball rolling on the view we have today, that the office is a stale stagnant place that you can’t wait to get out of.

The 19th Century

Office 1800
100 years after the implementation of the East India Trading Company offices, the USA caught on, and commercial offices for conducting business began rolling out across the country. This development was pushed forward due to the technological advances of the period. During the 1800’s the railroad, the telegraph and the telephone were invented, this allowed business to separate their manufacturing and administration processes, creating places of work specific to the occupation, the office! The most iconic symbol of the office, the humble desk started to become a business in itself during the 19th century. In 1876 office equipment and furniture were popular exhibits at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia.
One of the biggest advancements in the 19th century office was the inclusion of women for the first time. As the workload grew so did the need for workers and so business began an experiment, hiring women! The experiment worked and women became a huge hit in the workplace, beginning the transformation of kitchen to boardroom.

The 20th century

Office Cube Space
The 20th century saw in an explosion of offices and office workers, especially in regards to personal injury attorneys in Sacramento. In the United States alone nearly 100,00 people were employed in an office as typists, stenographers and secretaries. There was a concentration of wealth in the new corporations of the 1900’s, pushing the education system to advance as there was a greater demand for literate workers. Office skills became a specialism and training was made available in the early 1900’s. The 20th century was a century of rapid advancement in all fields and many of these led to the perception of the office we have today.
Skyscrapers – The tall tower trend began life in Chicago. Technologies such as the elevator and the steel frame allowed buildings to be raised higher than ever before, allowing business owners to generate maximum income from the site.
Open Plan – In 1904 Frederick Taylor took it upon himself to design a maximum efficiency office space. He believed that the perfect office was a completely open environment for employees with bosses seated in close proximity private offices where they could retain their middle classness but still keep an eye on the masses.
The Cubicle – The dreaded office cubicle was invented by a talented yet in hindsight slightly misguided Henry Miller in 1968. Referred to at the time as the action office, it was based on the new European workplace philosophy. It aimed to increase privacy and productivity and reduce

distraction. However in the 1980’s this trend went nuclear, and offices became cube farms filled with isolated and underwhelmed middle managers.
Virtual Communication – In the 1980’s computers became commonplace in most office facilities. Bringing with it the convenience of Email and the fax machine. This gave businesses all over the world the scope for international development, allowing them to communicate with people millions of miles away in the blink of an eye.
Smart Casual – The geek squad that brought Apple Macintosh to the masses in 1984 surprised the world by dressing themselves in hoodies rather than suits, putting to bed the notion that to be successful you have to dress smart.
The Virtual Office – In 1994 the proximity of the millennium brought with it a desire to be seen as possessing a space age level of cool. In order to do this, many corporations implemented the idea of the virtual office, removing the desks and cubicles, and instead having a large lounge area. Employees fought for laptops and seats when they came into work every morning. As can be expected, the plan wasn’t great and productivity nose-dived. However the emphasis put on flexibility is an idea that has been brought forward into the 21st century.

The 21st century

So what’s changed from the cube farm of the 1980’s to right now in 2015? The digital age is fully upon us and as a result we are experiencing a third industrial revolution. There is no longer a need for workers to be shackled to their desks, with the development of notebooks, tablets, wireless internet, skype and all other manner of digital necessities, anything you can do in the office you can do at home. Work has transformed from a place we go to a thing we do, and new start-ups are taking full advantage of this, minimizing outgoing costs and maximizing profits. Now, you can build a business from your local Starbucks for the cost of cappuccino. This is not to say that offices are obsolete though, far from it. You can walk down any street in any city in the world and loose count of the offices lining it, but it does mean that change in ideals is needed. The cube is dead, and the cumbersome oak desk is not far behind. Businesses are following the ideals of freedom and creativity by building flexible office spaces that enable conversation and collaboration.
The next 15 years is only likely to bring more advances and more changes to the ever expanding landscape of the humble office.