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EU General Court upholds decision that representations of designs in registered Community design applications for beakers lacked precision

The EU General Court has upheld an EUIPO Board of Appeal decision that registered Community design applications for beakers failed to comply with Article 36(1) of the Community Designs Regulation (6/2002/EC) (CDR) because the representations of the designs also showed bottles, so that it was unclear what was sought to be protected. The court also agreed with the appeal board that the applications could not be given a date of filing or regarded as applications for a registered Community design because of the defects, since an application cannot be given a date of filing until deficiencies regarding Article 36(1) requirements are remedied and if deficiencies are not remedied within a prescribed period the application cannot be dealt with as an application for a registered Community design (Article 46(2), CDR).

The court agreed with the appeal board that the representations did not comply with Article 36(1), which requires an application to contain a “representation of the design suitable for reproduction”. The court said that while Article 36(1) did not specify the conditions for a representation to be suitable for production, Article 4(1)(e) of the Implementing Regulations (2245/2002/EC), with which applications had to comply (Article 36(5), CDR), specified various requirements for a representation of a design. These included that the representation had to be of sufficient quality to permit all details of the matter for which protection was sought to be clearly distinguished. This referred to the requirement that a registration enable third parties to determine with clarity and precision all the details of the design for which protection was sought. The court therefore rejected the applicant’s argument that Article 36(1) only applied where the representation of the design was “physically” muddled or vague, such as due to poor print quality. Article 36(1) also covered a lack of precision, certainty or clarity regarding the matter to be protected by the design for which registration was sought.

Case: Mast-Jägermeister v EUIPO, Case T-16/16, 9 February 2017 (Curia).

Practical Law 17.2.17