Bicycle basket is a European Union design, but has no copyright

In 2011 Basil Denton unveils the new rotan bicycle basket, with leather strips. Less than a year later the competition introduces a basket that looks suspiciously alike, the Java New Looks. This likeness is not be accident. A picture of the Basil Denton product served as its inspiration. The director did not want an exact copy, claiming: “We would like to change the baskets a little bit so that they are not exactly the same as Basil”. Basil demands that the baskets are removed from the market.

Because no design registration took place, Basil had to invoke its copyrights and its unregistered design rights. The claim based on copyright failed. The design is too basic and its looks are determined by function. The claim based on an unregistered design do stick, however.
The combination of the distinctive elements are not found in any existing baskets. The Java basket does not differ sufficiently from this, and it was also based on the Basil design. Basil’s claim on design rights was therefore successful. The only drawback is that the prohibition and the damages were limited. An unregistered design only has a life span of three years. An actual registration can last up to 25 years and would have earned Basil much higher damages.


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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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