This member of the IPKat team was present, together with our own dear blogmeister, at the two-day celebratory conference in Alicante to mark the 10th anniversary of the Community design.
One of the topics that arose in discussion was the use of dotted lines in representations. Your correspondent in his own presentation disagreed with the finding of both the High Court and the Court of Appeal that the dotted lines in the Apple/Samsung case referred to a border visible beneath a transparent surface (and, for that matter, the finding by the Patents County Court in the later case of Kohler Mira Ltd v Bristan Group Ltd that dotted lines referred to a transparent face plate). He maintained his conviction in the face of challenge from a senior member of the judiciary who was present in the audience, and who staunchly upheld the Apple/Samsung decisions.
|RCD No. 616057-0001|
So, what is the difference between showing a feature in dotted lines and not showing it at all?
|The Cheshire cat as envisioned |
by illustrator John Tenniel
"The design has a square base, its height is low enough such that a normal wine bottle will sit proud of the top of the bag and its width is wide enough to accommodate water and ice along with the wine bottle. These elements of height and width give the product an appearance reminiscent of an ice bucket when it contains a bottle of wine. The bottle is sitting proud of the top of the bag in a similar manner to a bottle in an ice bucket."
On the other hand, there are clearly cases where the dotted line conventions have been pushed too far, and created results of very dubious validity. The most extreme version is dubbed by this commentator the “Cheshire Cat design” – one where so much of the original product design is dotted that, like the Cheshire Cat’s smile, only a solitary, isolated feature hangs disembodied in the air. The IPKat hesitates to name such cases, but hopes that his readers will have seen them. Merpel suspects that it may be a very long time before the owner of such a registration risks taking it to a court.