IP case law Court of Justice

Referral C-211/24 (LEGO, 18 Mar 2024)

(1) In a case such as that in the main proceedings, in which the holder relies on a design protected under Article 8(3) of Council Regulation (EC) No 6/2002 of 12 December 2001 on Community designs (‘the Regulation’) in connection with one or more building blocks from a toy building set made by the defendant which perform the same assembly function as the blocks in the applicant’s design, is it compatible with EU law for the courts, when determining the scope of protection, within the meaning of Article 10 of the Regulation, of the applicant’s design,
– to take as their point of reference an informed user who, in respect of the function of the design and that of the product, possesses the technical knowledge to be expected of a sectoral expert,
– to consider an informed user to be one who compares the applicant’s design and the defendant’s product by carrying out a thorough, technical and methodical examination, and
– to assume that the informed user’s overall impression of the design and of the product is formed primarily of a technical opinion?
(2) In the event that, in a case as described above, it is to be concluded that the protection conferred by the applicant’s design extends to one or a small number of pieces of the defendant’s toy building sets, the number of which is nonetheless small in relation to the total number of building blocks, is it compatible with EU law for a court to have discretion to dismiss the claim for a prohibition on the continued importation of the toy building set into the country, after taking into consideration the partial nature of the infringement, the limited severity and extent of the infringement in relation to the product as a whole, and the interests associated with the unrestricted trade in a toy building set which is for the most part uncontested, those being classified as ‘sound reasons’ for the purposes of Article 89(1) of the Regulation?

Case details on the CJEU website (external link)