A recent European Court of Justice judgment is good news for EU designers as it confirms what has already been stated by some Spanish courts – namely, that a design need not have artistic merit, aesthetic value or a particular visual attraction to qualify for copyright protection. Although the judgment was issued in response to a ruling by the Portuguese courts, it will undoubtedly have clear consequences throughout the European Union. This article examines the decision in view of the Spanish legal framework.
In December 2018 the EU Trademark Court of Appeal declared that the Ibiza Beach drink marketed by Productos Ibicencos, SL and Aromáticas de Ibiza, SL – whose bottle was highly similar to the well-known Malibu bottle – infringed The Absolut Company AB's (TAC's) 3D and graphic trademarks which protect the shape of such bottle. Among other things, the court held that the defendants had taken unfair advantage of TAC's trademarks, as their product was very similar in appearance.
The Council of Ministers recently approved a preliminary draft law which will partially amend the Trademark Act in order to incorporate the EU Trademark Directive. Ahead of the parliamentary approval procedure, various consulting bodies provided their opinions on the draft text. In this regard, the Economic and Social Council and the General Council of the Judiciary both highlighted certain aspects of the preliminary draft law which they believe could be improved.
The Constitutional Court recently upheld in part an action challenging the constitutionality of certain taxes relating to the administration of justice, including those which must be paid in civil and contentious administrative proceedings regarding IP matters. The court considered that the disproportionate values of the taxes violated the fundamental right of citizens to effective judicial protection and deterred them from turning to the courts to exercise this right.
A new act has come into force which reforms the consolidated text of the Copyright Act, as well as a particular provision of the Civil Procedure Act. The main purpose of the reform is to adapt the Spanish IP legislation to the social, economic and technological changes of recent years, and to bring it into line with EU law.