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EU General Court upholds invalidity of radiator designs

The EU General Court has dismissed appeals against decisions of an EUIPO Board of Appeal declaring two Community designs for thermosiphons for heating radiators invalid for lack of individual character contrary to Article 6 of the Community Designs Regulation (6/2002), on the basis that the overall impression produced by the designs on an informed user was no different from that produced by the shape and aspect of two earlier German designs.

In assessing the individual character of the designs in relation to its presence in the design corpus, the board had taken into account whether there was a saturation of the state of the art that could be capable of making the informed user more attentive to the differences in the designs being compared. The board had used the wrong date for assessing the state of the art given that it had indicated that it would examine the state of the art as it stood at the time of the decisions under appeal. However, the board’s error was insufficient to lead to the annulment of the decisions; it had still examined evidence in the form of catalogues from the year of registration of the designs (which correctly corresponded to the state of the art) and had ultimately been correct in concluding that the evidence concerning the relevant period for assessing the issue of saturation of the state of the art was insufficient in number, quality and relevance.

Case: Antrax It v EUIPO (Thermosiphons pour radiateurs), Joined Cases T-828/14 and T-829/14, 16 February 2017 (Curia).

Practical Law 17.2.17