Our long legacy in design litigation
showcases our dedication to aesthetic creations.

Design Litigation

Litigating design protection is particularly challenging because the parties themselves are obliged to elaborate and evaluate the specifics of the design and the distinguishing elements from the perspective of the informed user.

rospatt has massive experience in this field, spanning from industries such as fashion, mechanical engineering, electronics, consumer goods and food. For example, we have represented clients concerning designs for bathing suits, car wheels, casings for sensors, dresses, mobile phones, patio heaters, shelf systems, shirts, shoes, sports cars, switch cabinets, tablet computers, toys, wall toggle switches and much more.

Related Cases

  • Apple v Samsung Electronics (tablet computers)
  • Birkenstock v Styleboom (shoe buckle)
  • Enders Colsman v misc. opponents (patio heater)
  • Ferrari v Mansory (unregistered community design for parts)
  • Ferrari v misc. opponents (various sports car designs)
  • Joboo v misc. opponents («Stapelstein»)
  • Mauser v misc. opponents (bottles and cans)
  • Niessing v misc. opponents (tension ring jewelry)
  • Orbis v misc. opponents (traditional fashion)
  • Paul Green v misc. opponents (misc. shoe designs)
  • PulseOn v Garmin (heart rate monitors)

Related Landmark Decisions

Front kit IIBGH 2022 GRUR 1061
The Federal Supreme Court confirmed and applied the standard set by the Court of Justice of the European Union for the protection of partial areas of a complex product by unregistered Community designs.

Ferrari (Front kit) CJEU 2021 GRUR 1523
rospatt achieved a change in the established German case law from the Court of Justice of the European Union on behalf of a famous sports car manufacturer. This now helps all design creators to obtain flexible protection against the imitation of parts of their designs. In a landmark verdict, the Court of Justice permitted the protection of partial areas of an appearance by unregistered Community designs with only minimal requirements. The Court recognized that the disclosure of an overall product may give rise to a plurality of unregistered designs for parts of the overall product. Contrary to what had been assumed by German case law up to that point, an independent act of disclosure in relation to the respective partial design was deemed unnecessary, as was the partial design needing to have a certain independence and unitary form. Instead, it was deemed sufficient that the partial design should be clearly identifiable when the entire product is disclosed, and clearly defined by lines, contours, colours, the shape or texture.

Front kitBGH 2020 GRUR 392
The Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court had refused protection for areas of the front of a new hyper sports car as an unregistered Community design on the grounds that the shape lacked a certain degree of autonomy and unity. The Federal Supreme Court saw a need for clarification and referred questions to the Court of Justice of the European Union for a preliminary ruling on the conditions for the creation of an unregistered Community design for parts of a product.

Regalsystem (Shelf system) – BGH GRUR 2013, 951
The imitation of a product that is competitively unique is unfair if the deception as to origin could be avoided. If the original product needs replacing and extending, it may, however, be permissible to take over the features of the original product to ensure technical compatibility. According to this decision by the BGH, this also applies if customers have a legitimate interest in the visual compatibility of the products.