The European Court of Justice said a final “no” to trade mark registration of the Lego brick

On 14 September 2010 the ECJ ruled on the appeal brought by Lego Juris against the decision of the Court of First Instance rejecting the registration of Lego toy- brick as a three-dimensional trade mark. Although said shape had certainly acquired distinctiveness through use, its registration as a Trade mark falls within the prohibition of Article 7(1)(e)(ii) of Community trade mark Regulation no. 40/94, expressly providing that signs which consist exclusively of the shape of goods which is necessary to obtain a technical result cannot be registered as trade marks. By referring to the well known Philips v. Remington case relevant to the trade mark registration of the shape of an electyric shaver, the Court specified the scope of such prohibition pointing out that Lego brick lacks any significant non-functional elements in addition to those necessary to allow the interlocking function. According to the Court “a sign consisting of a shape of a product that […] merely performs a technical function cannot be registered as a trade mark. Such a registration would unduly impair the opportunity for competitors to place on the market goods whose shapes incorporate the same technical solution”.

10/08/2010 | Trade Mark