Ferrari has successfully overcome a refusal by the Australian Patent Office for registration of its vehicle model Ferrari 488 Pista Spider.
The case concerns a design application for this model filed in 2018 in Australia. The design was refused by the Office because it was similar to prior design of Ferrari 488 Spider.
As it is known, you can register a design only if it is new and original.
Ferrari didn’t give up. They hired the well-known expert in the field of luxury cars Anthony Moss to make a professional analyse of both designs. According to him they were sufficiently different taking into account that in the case of sport luxury vehicles consumers pay attention even to smallest details.
In the appeal the Office changed its position. It agreed that when it comes to car design, authors freedom to innovate is somewhat limited because they always have to use wheels, doors, bonnets and mirrors. So in that regard consumers would apportion more weight to areas where the designer has freedom to innovate, which in this particular case was the front and rear section of the car.
In the case at hand, the new model has some differences. For example, an air damn and air scoop running through the front bumper and up through the bonnet of the 488 Pista was different compare with the older design. The air damns and the wrap around diffusers in the rear of the new model were also considered different.
This case shows clearly that protection of industrial designs can be quite tricky sometimes. The freedom of innovation has to be bear in mind and the field for which the designs will be used. This can be crucial for the success or failure of the design application.
Source: Phillips Ormonde Fitzpatrick – Peter Wassouf, Lexology.
A recent trademark battle between Apple and Swatch has ended with success for the Swiss company.
The dispute at hand concerned a trademark application for ‘one more thing’ filed by Swatch.
Apple filed an opposition arguing that this phrase was well-known by consumers in relation to its products because it had been used in their launching.
The Australian Patent Office disagreed stating that according to the evidence Apple had used this phrase only once. This wasn’t enough to constitute real trade usage for the purpose of the trademark opposition procedure.
In addition, Swatch emphasized that the idea for this trademark was inspired by the “film noir” genre and in particular by the character of Colombo detective who regularly used this phrase in his investigations.
As it is well-known the EU is negotiating with Australia for a $100 billion trade deal similar to those signed with Canada and Japan.
In that regard, the EU’s Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan expressed his concerns about the deal after the last meeting between the parties in Canberra.
As in all other deals, the EU expects all of its geographical indications to cover the other party’s territory after the deal, which aim to protect the European producers of traditional products.
The problem in the case of Australia, however, is that many local manufacturers have been using European geographical indications, such as Prosecco and Feta for free for decades. The EU insists that to be discontinued. On the other side, the Australian government tries to support its producers in an attempt to avoid eventual economic disturbance for them.
In most of the cases, such disputes end with a grace period after which the relevant producers have to seize the use of the protected geographical indications or in some cases at least to add the name of the country in front for a distinction.
Source: The Sydney Morning Herald.
The Supreme Court in Austria ruled in a lawsuit that had been initiated by Davidoff against a trading company in the country which was selling original perfumes branded with trademarks Davidoff – word and combined. According to Davidoff this could lead to a consumer misleading that this company is part if its distributional channel, taking into account that the company put the trademarks on its website.
According to the court, however, there is no breach of law in the case at hand because the trademark use was only for information purposes and it is in accordance with the legislation on trademark exhaustion, in particular:
A mark shall not entitle the proprietor to prohibit its use in relation to goods which have been put on the market in the Community under that trade mark by the proprietor or with his consent.
Source: Taylor Wessing, Lexology.