Section 8 of the Alicante Court of Appeal, acting as the Community Design Court, recently confirmed the infringement of Jemella Limited's Community design which had previously been declared by the first-instance Community design court. The Community design in question protected the special shape of the well-known GHD IV Styler hair straightener.
Under the European Patent Convention, a computer program per se is not considered a patentable invention; rather, program listings per se are protected by copyright. However, in many cases, a computer program can be considered a technical solution to a technical problem and is thus patentable. For a European patent to be granted, applicants must show that this solution is novel and involves an inventive step with respect to prior art.
Section 8 of the Alicante Provincial Court (acting as the EU Trademark Court) recently dismissed Equivalenza Retail, SL's appeal against the Alicante Commercial Court Number 2 judgment in which it had been sentenced for infringing various perfume trademarks owned by Hugo Boss, Gucci and Lacoste in the context of its smell-alike business. Equivalenza had used the trademarks both in comparison lists and orally in commercial speech.
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 Federated European Patent Register provides information regarding the legal status of EU patents. Among other things, the register provides a direct link to national patent registers, which makes it easier to obtain up-to-date information on the status of patents. Although there is room for further improvement, the register provides quick and easy access to the basic post-grant legal status of EU patents.
In October 2018 the EU Trademark Court Number 1 of Alicante granted the interim injunction application filed by Xiaomi Inc against Blablatel Mobile SL for trademark infringement due to the parallel import of technological products from outside the European Economic Area. This decision is notable, as it confirms that importing goods that were originally intended to be marketed outside the European Economic Area without the trademark owner's consent constitutes trademark infringement.
The doctrine of equivalents, which forms the basis of the patent system and is codified in the original version of the Protocol on the Interpretation of Article 69 of the European Patent Convention, is fundamental for achieving a balance between the rights of patent owners and those of the market. In order to strike a balance between these different interests, equivalence must be determined based on what a patent owner has chosen to protect.