Spinner dispute hits dizzying new heights

A little bit of soon-to-be-forgotten history was made today when the European Union's General Court handed down its first decision on Community design law in a dispute involving PepsiCo and a Spanish manufacturer of promotional items. The IPKat thanks his Class 99 blog team colleague and great MARQUES supporter David Stone (Simmons & Simmons) for drawing his attention to it. By way of excuse for not spotting it first the IPKat explains that, while he checks the Curia website daily for signs of fresh IP cases, this particular decision hadn't yet been posted by that admirably early when the Kat checked it out ...

Case T-9/07, Grupo Promer Mon Graphic SA v Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market, PepsiCo Inc, as David points out, is the first from an EU court to discuss in detail the meaning of several key aspects of the current European law on design right law. One is the tricky question as to who is the "informed user". This is the person whose impression of the similarities or differences between a later design and an earlier one is so important (in this dispute, there was discussion as to whether the "informed user" was "a child in the approximate age range of 5 to 10" or a marketing manager).

Another significant issue is the meaning of the term "same overall impression", this being the impression which, when the informed user receives it, means that the registration of the later design is invalid for lack of novelty or individual character. Today's decision will therefore go some way towards harmonising the very different designs jurisprudence that has developed in the various Member States of the EU [if, Merpel adds, the EU's various courts understand it and apply it in a uniform manner, which is far from impossible].

Early summaries of the decision can be found here on Class 99 itself (courtesy of David Musker) and on Elexica here.
Spinner dispute hits dizzying new heights Spinner dispute hits dizzying new heights Reviewed by Jeremy on Thursday, March 18, 2010 Rating: 5

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