Dish brushes with feminine shapes

The Spanish company Casa Vigar designs all sorts of household products, including dish brushes. This brush was protected with a Community Design Registration (requirements: novelty and individual character). Characteristic features are the long bristles as a hairstyle, the long neck and the distinct feminine shape: a bust and waist. When Edco starts offering a similar brush, Casa Vigar demands a ban.


Edco argues that the design registration is invalid. The design is not novel, because there had already been comparable brushes in the market. The court disagrees. The prior articles lack the feminine shape (its convex bulges) and the clothing is simply drawn on. The design of Casa Vigar deviates sufficiently from this and therefore the CDR is valid.

The dish brush from Edco also has a feminine figure with a long neck, a tight evening dress and a brush head for hair. The differences (different face drawing) are insufficient. This is deemed an infringement because the Edco brush does not make a different general impression.

Surprisingly the copyright claim is rejected. Casa Vigar could not properly prove that it held the copyright. So here’s another major advantage of registering a design, as its validity is assumed by courts.


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IP quiz Trademarks

Puma is one of the bigger sports and lifestyle brands in the world. The core-business is the design, development and sale of (sports) shoes, (sports) clothing and accessories. In 1960, Puma registered an international trademark for a device designed in 1958: the formstrip. Since then, Puma has registered approximately 90 formstrip trademarks with validity in the Benelux or the European Union. Puma claims that this is a serial mark. Monshoe is a wholesaler of women's shoes and related products. The company designs and develops Monshoe shoes which it largely markets itself. Monshoe sells its women's shoes under the brands Shoecolate and Pearlz. The shoe Shoecolate is offered in various colour combinations. Puma claims that Monshoe infringes its well-known formstrip trademark. Monshoe contradicts this and states that the average consumer will not perceive the device of Monshoe on the sneakers as a trademark. And if the public will recognize a trademark in the decoration, it will not make the connection to Puma. According to Monshoe, the formstrip logo is not a well-known trademark within the meaning of the BVIE and the UMVo. There is no likelihood of confusion because the sign does not or hardly evoke any association with Puma among the public. In light of the above, who is right? Does this constitute decorative use or linking to a well-known trademark?