The nautical world and its image

The Italian Supreme Court has recognized, in Judgement No. 18218 of 11/08/2009, the existence of a right to economic exploitation of the image of a corporate asset for a legal person, even if this is not generally considered to be among the traditionally recognized distinctive signs. In this case the company Rimini Sail and IN.CO. Rimini Srl, respectively the user under a lease contract and the holder of the right to economic exploitation of the boat called the "Riviera di Rimini", had sued the companies Cartiere Fedrigoni & C. S.p.A. and Fedrigoni Cartiera S.p.A. in order to obtain damages arising from the undue use of the image of that boat, upon the sail of which the defendant companies' figurative mark had been placed, in a promotional calendar. The Court dismissed the plaintiffs' claims, holding that the image of the famous object could not be protected in the same way as the image of an individual, and that even the general clause in Art. 2043 of the Civil Code would not have been applicable, as it does not fulfill the expectation of economic exploitation of a famous object of interest worthy of protection. The Court of Appeal too considered the appeal unfounded. The Supreme Court set aside the ruling of lower instances, and held that the behaviour of the defendant companies was illegal because, among other things, it adversely affected the rights to economic exploitation of the image of the boat owned by the plaintiffs.

11/04/2010 | Copyright