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17 February 2020
In the ever-changing fashion industry, every signature handbag design represents the designer's endeavour and the brand's goodwill. However, whether such handbag design is protected under the Copyright Act remains controversial. In recent civil decisions, the IP Court has demonstrated how the Taiwanese courts approach this issue.
In a recent case, the plaintiffs were two French luxury fashion brands, while the defendant was a Taiwanese leather goods manufacturer. The plaintiffs claimed that:
With regard to the issue of copyright protection for the handbag designs, the first-instance court held that handbag designs should be deemed to be artistic works which are protected under the Copyright Act. However, the second-instance court reversed this decision and stated that the handbag designs did not reflect aesthetic considerations and served only the functional purpose of carrying objects. Therefore, the second-instance court held that the handbag designs were not copyrightable.
As to the issue of the Fair Trade Act, both the first and second-instance courts held that the evidence provided by the plaintiffs was insufficient to prove that the handbag designs should be considered a well-known symbol in Taiwan. Nonetheless, the second-instance court:
For further information on this topic please contact Ruey-Sen Tsai or Celia Tao at Lee and Li Attorneys at Law by telephone (+886 2 2763 8000) or email (email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org). The Lee and Li Attorneys at Law website can be accessed at www.leeandli.com.
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