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.
The Madrid Court of Appeal recently confirmed a Madrid Trial Court Number 11 decision which had sentenced a Spanish resident of Chinese origin to five months' imprisonment for the possession of 9,317 counterfeit items of clothing – including t-shirts which infringed FC Barcelona's IP rights – for commercial purposes. The appeal court also confirmed the trial court's order of a fine, additional penalties, civil liability payments and compensation for legal costs.
Grifols, SA filed a lawsuit before the Barcelona courts against Algoritmos Procesos y Diseños, SA (APD) for infringement of a patent which protected a blister pack handling machine. Once the lawsuit was admitted, APD filed a declinatory plea due to lack of territorial jurisdiction. However, the court rejected APD's plea and pointed out that this was a case of forum choosing (rather than forum shopping) which illustrates the importance of patent owners' right to choose.
Valencia Criminal Court Number 15 recently convicted the managers of a company operating in the souvenir industry for a crime against IP rights in accordance with the Criminal Code. In its decision, the court rejected the defendants' allegations of defencelessness, deeming that both the objective and subjective elements of Article 273 of the Criminal Code had been met based on the expert report and the raid conducted against the defendants in 2009.
The Supreme Court recently declared a Madrid Court of Appeal judgment to be final, confirming the cancellation of Carrefour's CONTINENTE trademarks and recognising Modelo's right to register and use its CONTINENTE mark in Spain. The decision supports the previous case law criterion that protection cannot be sought for trademarks which are no longer used on the market.