The European Court docket of Justice (CJEU) has handed down its decision in the case Ferrari v. Mansory Design on the scope of safety of Unregistered Community Designs (case C 123/20). This case is especially related because it shines a brand new mild on the scope of safety of half of a product underneath the Unregistered Community Designs (UCD) regime.
Ferrari sought an injunction by means of the German nationwide courts for infringements of their UCD on the Ferrari FXX Ok by Mansory Design. In December 2014, Ferrari had launched their new racing automotive by means of a press launch exhibiting photos displaying a entrance and aspect view of the automotive. The most important characteristic of the new Ferrari was the V-shaped ingredient on the bonnet, which, in keeping with Ferrari, “defines the facial features of the car and gives the car an association with a Formula 1 car”. Mansory Design, specialised in personalisation of high-end automobiles, is a producer of so-called tuning kits. In 2016, they began the advertising of a tuning equipment with the look of a Ferrari FXX Ok.
Ferrari claimed that Mansory’s tuning kits infringed three of their UCD, particularly the V-shape ingredient, the look of the entrance lip spoiler of the automotive, and the automotive in its entirety. Such UCD got here to existance at the second of the press launch in 2014.
In first occasion, Ferrari’s claims had been dismissed in its entirety. The German courtroom of enchantment subsequently dismissed Ferrari’s enchantment, deciding that solely a UCD for the automotive in its entirety existed, however no infringement had taken place in the case at stake. Ferrari appealed the case up till the German Federal Court docket which held that the consequence would rely on the circumstances by which the look of a component of a product, particularly the V-shaped ingredient, claimed by Ferrari could also be protected as an UCD.
The Federal Court docket then referred the case to the CJEU asking the following questions:
Can an unregistered design in particular person elements come up in consequence product disclosure of an general picture of the product?
What standards apply for assessing particular person character when figuring out general impression of the element half?
In a nutshell, the CJEU needed to contemplate whether or not a picture of the general product may very well be interpreted as ‘making available to the public’ of solely a component of the product, and in that case, to what extent the look of that half of the product should be unbiased in relation to the general product from a person character level of view.
The CJEU held that for a design to be ‘made available to the public’, the publication of design photos would suffice. Nevertheless, the photos ought to be sufficiently clear to permit the related half of the product to be identifiable. Extra importantly, there isn’t any requirement to make each half of a product individually out there, when looking for to acquire safety by means of a UCD. This might contradict the most important perform of an UCD, which is meant to offer safety with out the burden of registration formalities.
Moreover, the Court docket offered extra readability on the interpretation of particular person character. To that finish, it’s important that the photos of the product in its entirety clearly identifies the elements of the merchandise to be protected. Which means that for a design of a component of a product to have particular person character, that design ought to be clearly outlined by strains, contours, colors shapes and texture. These pointers additionally apply in relation to elements of complicated designs.
The resolution offers some new steering on the scope of safety of UCD. It makes it simpler for manufacturers to rely on UCD, as the publication of a picture of the whole product would make it potential to rely on UCD for elements of the product, offered that the look of the half is clearly identifiable. Subsequently, it is necessary that photos used for first publication of a product present a number of features of that product. This ensures that manufacturers can maximise design safety by relying on particular person elements of their design. Finally, UCD stays a beneficial software in opposition to infringers.
Sophie Verstraeten additionally contributed to this text.