The IPKat has received a very excited email that contains this link to what is reported as being the first Community design decision from Alicante's Community Design Court. Not being a Spanish-speaker, the IPKat is a little unclear. He thinks this court may be designated by the Spanish government as the national court for dealing with Community design cases but, to his embarrassment, he has not been able to find anything on the OHIM website that looks like a list of national Community design courts. Can some nice person out there please help?

STOP PRESS: Malte Hartmann writes:
"Referring to the article in Alicante´s newspaper Diario, I´m sorry I have to say that it is not a decision of the Spanish "Community Design Court". Nonetheless it is quiet interesting as the article states that it is the first decision of the Spanish "Community Trade Mark Court" in Alicante (took quiet a long time...).

An Italian producer of suitcases asked for interim relief to stop the sale of similar suitcases produced by a Spanish company, located in Aspe. It doe not say which kind of mark was involved. The first instance court dismissed the injunction, the CTM Court of Second Instance granted it. Furthermore the court ordered a detention of the infringing suitcases until the end of the procedures. Also it seems as if the defendant had to pay 3,000 EURO as compensation for damages (which seems peculiar to me as it is a provisional ruling, I don´t know if the article is clear in that point). The newspaper considered it notable that the court illustrated his judgment with photos of the products".
Darren Smyth (Marks & Clerk) adds:
"... I have enlisted the help of my colleague Hernan Rios, who is from Chile.

The handbag: a powerful motif in British politics

The title reads "The Court withdraws two lines of handbags from Aspe on its first decision on trade marks". They mean designs, obviously. The article states that this is the first decision of El Tribunal de Marcas de la Audiencia Provincial concerning the Community Trade Mark. Again, they clearly mean Community design. However, it is not clear whether the matter relates to registered or unregistered community design rights. I suspect unregistered, because the report talks about copying.

Aspe is apparently a village in the province of Alicante.

Aspe: handbag conflict capital of Spain

According to Hernan Rios, the article states that:

* the matter started in September 2004, when an Italian company filed an action before the Juzgado en Lo Mercantil (apparently a new court appointed very recently) requesting the withdrawal of two lines of handbags being commercialised by a Spanish company on the internet. The judge refused to take any precautionary measures, stating that there were no reports that proved that there has actually been a copy of the designs.

* the claimant appealed this decision to the Tribunal de Marcas de la Audiencia. This tribunal issued an interim decision stating that:

"The grade of coincidence even to the smallest details is such, that it cannot be stated that the handbags are the result of an independent work carried out by the defendant, and no one can reasonably think that the defendant was not aware of the handbags of the claimant".

The article adds that, according to the judges, the defendant's bags are but a mere 'copia servil' (slavish copy) in view of the countless coincidences in the appearance of the handbags.

The tribunal has ordered the precautionary withdrawal of two lines of handbags being commercialised by the Spanish company. In order for the proceedings to continue, the claimant must deposit with the Court a bond ('fianza') for the sum of 3000 Euros within seven days.

It is indicated that the purpose of this deposit is to cover any possible damages that may be caused to the defendant originating from the withdrawal of the goods. The deposit was fixed at 3,000 Euros because the defendant declared that if the goods were to be withdrawn, this would cause them a small economic damage ('escasos perjuicios económicos').

It states that the judges used pictures to reach their decision. The journalist states that this is the first time where pictures have been used to justify or ground a judicial decision.

The journalist continues by stating that the Tribunal de Marcas provisionally ordered the defendants to stop selling the two lines of handbags. The goods are to be sealed, inventoried and retained in the warehouses of the defendant until the lawsuit is decided. In other words, the goods are to be seized.

The ruling (auto) states that it wants to avoid during the pending of the trial the high risk of confusion among the consumers and the professionals involved in this sector ('profesionales del sector'). I think he means people involved in the business of selling handbags.

Hernan's sources in Alicante indicate that,extraordinarily, the decision was reported in the newspaper before being communicated to the parties".

So, friends and readers, you can draw your own conclusions. Thanks, Malte and Darren, for your efforts and assistance (and thanks to Hernan too).
HELP!!!! HELP!!!! Reviewed by Jeremy on Wednesday, April 20, 2005 Rating: 5


  1. The Spanish Judicial Power Act (Ley 6/19885, art. 86 bis) states that Alicante´s "juzgados de lo mercantil" will have exclusive powers to deal with first instance lawsuits related to CMT Regulation and Commnunity Design Regulation. These Alicante's "juzgados" will have jurisdiction in the whole country and, when dealing with these matters, will be known as "Juzgados de Marca Comunitaria".

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