Nullity design Porsche 911

Two requirements have to be met to claim design protection of a product through a registered design. The design must be new and have its individual character. A product has individual character if it makes a different overall impression from already existing designs. The freedom of the designer plays a role in this (designs may vary a lot or a little). If that freedom is very limited (for example due to technical requirements), smaller differences will be sufficient for a different general impression. The basic shape for the Porsche 911 dates from 1963. Almost every year Porsche makes slight design modifications, for which design rights are claimed. Is this possible?

Autec questions this, when starting an invalidity action submitting previous design applications of earlier generations Porsche 911. The Court of First Instance holds that the design freedom is not limited. The shape and contours of the car are almost identical. There are minor differences (e.g. headlights and door-handles). It is irrelevant that Porsche does not wish to deviate too much from its iconic form. The result: the model is invalidated. If you want to claim design protection as a manufacturer, file new applications only for the new parts and not for the complete product.


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MENTOS has been selling chewing gum under the name MENTOS PURE FRESH for several years. In order to protect her rights MENTOS has registered the following trademarks: the logo MENTOS PURE FRESH, the logo MENTOS PURE FRESH 3 and a figurative depiction of the word PURE. Defendant sells chewing gum under the trademark DENTYNE PURE and has registered its logo as a trademark. Infringement or not?
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