Tag: automotive

1
Towards a Uniform Theory of Patent Law: The Federal Circuit Declines to Create Design-Patent-Specific Rules for Exhaustion or Repair
2
Can the mere registration of company name infringe? In the case of BMW, yes!
3
Designing aftermarket auto parts: exhausting design patent rights
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Ferrari “Testarossa” – The great importance for trademark owners of making proper use of trademarks

Towards a Uniform Theory of Patent Law: The Federal Circuit Declines to Create Design-Patent-Specific Rules for Exhaustion or Repair

On Tuesday July 23, 2019, the Federal Circuit declined to fashion design-patent-specific doctrines of exhaustion or repair. Automotive Body Parts Ass’n v. Ford Global Techs., LLC, Case No. 2018-1613, slip op. at 2 (Fed. Cir. July 23, 2019).

Instead, the court reemphasized that the same rules apply to utility patents and to design patents unless otherwise provided by law. Id. Also concluding that “aesthetic appeal” is not functional, the court affirmed the district court’s grant of summary judgment in Ford’s favor. Id. The decision is notable for its widening of the gap between trade dress and design patents and for its reaffirmation of the principle that design patents and utility patents should, whenever possible, receive identical treatment under the law.

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Can the mere registration of company name infringe? In the case of BMW, yes!

On 12 February 2019, car manufacturer (and globally recognised car brand) BMW was granted summary judgment in its claims for passing-off and trade mark infringement against BMW Telecommunications Ltd and Benjamin Michael Whitehouse (the sole director of BMW Telecommunications Ltd). The respondents were a consultancy business providing services for railway signaling and telecommunications.

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Designing aftermarket auto parts: exhausting design patent rights

The Automotive Body Parts Association (ABPA) brought a declaratory judgement action against Ford Global Technologies (Ford), the holding company for much of Ford Motor Company’s patent portfolio.  ABPA argued that design patents are inappropriate for auto-body parts and, in the alternative, that Ford’s design patents were unenforceable against the members of ABPA because the patent rights had exhausted upon the first sale of the vehicle. (Automotive Body Parts Association v. Ford Global Technologies, LLC, Case No. 2:15-cv-10137 (E.D. MI Feb. 20, 2018).)  The Court held that Ford’s designs for their vehicle components were indeed eligible for patent protection and further that the design patent rights were not exhausted when the vehicle was first sold.  Id. at 2.

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Ferrari “Testarossa” – The great importance for trademark owners of making proper use of trademarks

The Düsseldorf first instance district court decided that the trademark of Ferrari has to be cancelled (Decision as of 2 August 2017 – Case no. 2a O 166/16 – juris). However, the decision in not yet final.

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