Debranding screens can infringe Apple’s trademark too

The Supreme Court in Norway has ruled out in a lawsuits regarding the iPhone trademark.

The case concerns not original screens for iPhones imported into the country where the brand logo was covered up.

Initially the Court in Oslo ruled out that there was no infringement because the trademark was not been visible for the consumers.

The Supreme Court, however, overturned that decision stating the contrary. The arguments for this were the fact that although the brand was not visible the covering could be easily reversed in order to make the spare parts more valuable. This can create confusion whether the screen are original or not.

Apart from that, the target consumer group is not the end users but the repairers performing the installation in the repair shops. Because of this there was a higher degree of attention which can lead those consumers to the idea that the screens are counterfeit.

The Court cited the European Court’s position in the case Mitsubishi (C-129/17), where spare parts with even removed brands are considered as trademark infringements.

The only question that can bother the Court and the society as a whole in such cases is the fact that all infringed goods will be destroyed as a general rule of thumb which can reflect negatively on the environment. This issue is valid for most of the countries around the world where the legislation is similar. Probably the law has to stipulates an option at least for recycling.

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