Artistic value and copyright protection for industrial designs
Art Law

Artistic value and copyright protection for industrial designs

Introduction Industrial property lawyers in Italy have been given cause for reflection following the European Court of Justice’s (ECJ’s) recent decision in Cofemel-Sociedade de Vestuario, SA v G-Star Raw CV (Case C-683/17). The ECJ was expected to clarify whether the legislatures of EU member states can grant copyright protection for designs subject to additional requirements to those required for all other copyrighted works. This issue is of particular importance in Italy, as the legislature only allowed shapes to be protected as designs (through registration or as an unregistered Community design) and copyrighted in 2001 following the implementation of the EU Designs Directive (98/71/EC). However, the legislature introduced this protection with the following caveats: A shorter duration was initially envisaged for designs compared with other works protected by copyright. This led to an infringement procedure under which the duration of protection was aligned with that of other copyrighted works in Italy. An illegitimate transitional rule was introduced in almost all successive versions of the directive. The ECJ deemed this transitional regime to be illegal in Flos v Semeraro (Case C-168/09). Copyright protection will not be granted to designs deemed to be ‘intellectual creations’ (the only requirement for other protected works), […]

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