IP case law Court of Justice

Referral C-684/21 (Papierfabriek Doetinchem, 12 Nov 2021)

1. According to the case-law of the Court of Justice, the assessment as to whether the features of appearance of a product are dictated exclusively by its technical function must be made having regard to the design at issue, the objective circumstances indicative of the reasons which dictated the choice of features of appearance of the product concerned, information on its use or the existence of alternative designs which fulfil the same technical function (Court of Justice of the European Union, judgment of 8 March 2018 – C-395/16 – DOCERAM GmbH v CeramTec GmbH – EU:C:2018:172). With regard to the aspect of the existence of other designs, what significance is attached to the fact that the proprietor of the design also holds design
rights for numerous alternative designs?
2. In the assessment as to whether the appearance is dictated exclusively by the technical function, is it necessary to take into account the fact that the design allows for a multicolour appearance in the case where the colour design is not, as such, apparent from the registration?
3. If Question 2 is answered in the affirmative: Does this affect the scope of protection of the design?

Case details on the CJEU website (external link)