Design rights on non-visible parts - samsung cartridges

Design rights are the perfect tool to claim protection of shapes. However, this right has its limitations. Lose parts of an object cannot be protected through design rights. The philosophy behind this is that non-visible parts should be replaceable at all times. Therefore, the manufacturer can only claim design rights for the parts which are visible. However, how far can we take this?

At the court, in the Hague, this question was discussed in a case about Samsung printer cartridges. Can the design of the cartridge be legally claimed as a right? The cartridge can only be used within the printer, when it is not visible. And the printer itself cannot function without the cartridge. The court judges that the shape of a cartridge can be protected by design rights. A printer without a cartridge is still a complete product (like the lamp without the lamp bulb). This is good news for companies, because it enables them to protect the unique shapes of their products even more.


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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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