VESPA, motorcycles and T-shirts in a lawsuit in Italy

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IP Kat reports about an interesting case in Italy regarding trademark infringement.

The case concerns T-shirts bearing the image of the well-known Italian motorcycle VESPA but without using the mark itself.

In Italy a trademark infringement can be sanctioned under the Criminal law, according to which:

“1. Except in cases of joint liability covered by Article 473, anyone who introduces into the territory of the State, in order to make a profit, industrial products bearing trade marks or other distinctive signs, whether national or foreign, that are counterfeited or altered, is punished with imprisonment between 1 and 4 years, and a fine between EUR 3,500 and 35,000.
2. Except in cases of joint liability in the counterfeiting, alteration, introduction into the territory of the State, anyone who is in possession for the sale, starts selling or otherwise circulates, in order to make a profit, the products mentioned above sub paragraph 1 is punished with imprisonment up to 2 years and a fine up to EUR 20,000.
3. The delicts sub paragraphs 1 and 2 are punishable upon condition that internal laws, EU regulations and international conventions on the protection of intellectual and industrial property are observed.”
The defendant stated that there is a lack of infringement because the mark wasn’t been put on the T-shirts but only the motorcycle.
In contrast with this, however, the Supreme court ruled that there is an infringement because in this particular case the consumers are quite aware of this motorcycle and even without labelling a trademark on the T-shirts there is a possibility for a confusion regarding the origin of the good in question.
For more information here.
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