Vespa: the EU Court rejects the appeal: the rights on the scooter Vespa LX have not been violated

In 2010, the Chinese company Zhejiang Zhongneng Industry Group registered with the European Union Office for Intellectual Property (EUIPO) the design of their scooter "the Zhejiangscooter".
In 2014 Piaggio & C. submitted an application to the EUIPO for a declaration of nullity of this design, claiming that it did not meet the requirements of novelty and individual character compared to the design "Vespa LX" disclosed since 2005.
In 2015, by decision confirmed later in 2018 following an administrative action brought by the plaintiff, the EUIPO rejected that request. Today, the Court of the European Union rejects the action brought by PIAGGIO against that decision, confirming its legitimacy.
The Court holds that a design is protected under the Community Designs Regulation if and to the extent that it is new and has an individual character. After having assessed that PIAGGIO no longer claimed the lack of novelty of the scooter of Zhejiang and had chosen only the scooter Vespa LX with respect to any «prior art» in the context of all existing designs or models, the Court found that the EUIPO correctly concluded that Zhejiang’s scooter and the scooter Vespa LX «give to informed users different general impressions and that the former has an individual character compared to the latter».
The Court pointed out that the target audience of potential scooter buyers, with a high level of attention, «He will perceive the style, lines and appearance that characterize the scooter Vespa LX as different, visually, from those of the scooter of Zhejiang».
The concept of the " informed user with a high level of attention" applied by the Court in its decision, will not suit PIAGGIO which could see its potential informed users/consumers, choosing between the two scooters the cheaper model produced in China. There is in fact a difference, not taken into account by the Court of First Instance but the subject of several Courts'decisions, between the relevant public in the field of motorcycles, clearly expert and attentive, and the relevant public in the field of scooters that has a much lower level of attention.

10/02/2019 | Copyright