Design law prevented from going down the drain

06/10/17, EU/Competition

The Court of Justice has given judgment in Joined Cases C-361/15P and C-405/15P, Easy Sanitary Solutions and Group Nivelles NV.

This was an appeal from a decision of the General Court concerning the Community design right in a shower drainage channel.  Under the regulation, a protectable design must be both novel and produce a different impression to previous designs (so-called ‘individual character’). A heavily disputed issue in design law concerned the question of which previous designs could be taken into account when assessing novelty and individual character.

The Court of Justice accepted submissions to the effect that scope of relevant prior art is along the lines of that held by the Court of Appeal in Green Lane Products v PMS International (a 2008 decision in which David Vaughan QC appeared for the Appellant). The Court clarified that the sector concerned is not limited to that of the product in which the contested design is intended to be incorporated, or to which it is intended to be applied. The Court of Justice confirmed that the approach that the General Court had adopted on this important point was wrong.

The judgment is here.

Nicholas Saunders acted for the United Kingdom which intervened in the appeal.

« Back to news listings

About cookies on our website

Following a revised EU directive on website cookies, each company based, or doing business, in the EU is required to notify users about the cookies used on their website.

Our site uses cookies to improve your experience of certain areas of the site and to allow the use of specific functionality like social media page sharing. You may delete and block all cookies from this site, but as a result parts of the site may not work as intended.

To find out more about what cookies are, which cookies we use on this website and how to delete and block cookies, please see our Which cookies we use page.

Click on the button below to accept the use of cookies on this website (this will prevent the dialogue box from appearing on future visits)