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Spare Parts and Repair Services Decisions of Courts in Europe


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Spare Parts and Repair Services

Decisions of Courts in Europe

Leopold von Gerlach

Brussels, 29 January 2016


Hogan Lovells

Decisions of the European Court of Justice

• C - 238/87 VOLVO

• C - 53/87 Maxicar / Renault • C - 63/97 BMW / Deenik • C - 206/01 Arsenal

• C - 228/03 Gillette

• C - 48/05 Adam Opel / Autec • C - 487/ 07 L‘Oreal / Bellure


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Vacuum cleaner bag – trade mark law

German Federal Court of Justice, 2005

• Compatible vacuum cleaner bags were advertised "fitting with VORWERK KOBOLD 130"

• The use of the original brand name - necessary to

explain the compatibility - does not violate honest trade practices – even if instances of confusion may occur


Big inspection for everybody – trade mark law

German Federal Court of Justice, 2011

• Use of the "VW" emblem in advertisements for repair services

• Device mark must not be used for third party advertising - if use of word mark interfered less strongly with the


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BMW-Emblem – trade mark law

German Federal Court of Justice, 2015


• Use of BMW trade mark on badges to be sticked on other spare parts

• The trademark is the sole feature of the badge; as such the trade mark is not used "for" a spare part but is the spare part itself. Such trade mark use does not benefit from the


Repackaging of spare parts – trade mark law

Higher Regional Court Hamburg, 2001

• The importer of third party spare parts removed the

packaging bearing the original trademark and re-packed the spare parts in neutral packaging.

• The repacking of the spare parts cannot reverse the infringement that occured already at the time of import. • The initial packaging was trademark infringing as it used

the trademark without additional words like "fitting with" or "suitable for".


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Vacuum cleaner bag – comparative advertising German Federal Court of Justice, 2015

• Vacuum cleaner bags were advertised with

reference to the well known trade mark: "similar to


• No unfair exploitation of reputation by using a well

known trade mark for comparative advertising in an

offer for sale on the internet – even if this aimes at

raising attention to own products


Tuning – comparative advertising

German Federal Court of Justice, 2015

• Motor vehicle tune-ups were advertised by referring also to the car brand: "Porsche 911 with TECHART


• The reference to the car brand is permissible – as long as it is clear that it only refers to the vehicle in its original state


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Wheel rims – design law

District Court of Dusseldorf, 2013


• Distribution of wheel rims in Germany, manufactured by an Italian company - alleged infringement of a national

registered design

• Repair clause under European design law (Art. 110 CDR) is not applicable as defence against claims of infringement of a German design right


Wheel rims – design law

Higher Regional Court of Stuttgart, 2014

• Distribution of wheel rims in Germany, manufactured by an Italian company - alleged infringement of a

community design

• Art. 101 CDR only applies in case of repair, which does not include the delivery of a set of four wheel rims

• Wheel rims do not represent "designs which constitute a component part of a complex product" and therefore do not fall within the scope of Art. 101 CDR


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Nintendo remote control – design law

Higher Regional Court Dusseldorf, 2016

• Offer of Nintendo-compatible remote control and use of Nintendo's design protected products on website – as reference product for the remote control.

• Questions referred to the European Court of Justice:

1. Is it permissible to display a design protected product (game console) in order to advertise a compatible

accesoire product (remote control).

2. Wich law is applicable on offers that are targeted to all European countries


Windows – comparative advertisinht

Supreme Court of Austria, 2011

• Offer of windows as "suitable replacement for VELUX windows"

• reference to the trade mark of the market-leader‘s brand is unjustified, as a reference to windows of all kinds as well as custom made windows would have been


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Aluminium wheel rims – design and trade mark law

- Supreme Court of Denmark, 2015

• Use of aluminium wheel rims imitating the

BMW-design - and bearing the BMW trade mark.

• Aluminium wheel rims do not fall within the scope of

Art. 101 CDR as they are used to decorate and

upgrade the overall appearance.

• Wheel rims attached with the BMW trade mark

infringe BMW's trade mark rights


Spare parts for vacuum cleaners – trade mark law

Supreme Court of Italy, 2014

• Use of device mark placed on spare parts for

vacuum cleaners.

• Device mark placed on the product is no indication

for the product's intended purpose but rather an

indication of its origin – and thus a trade mark

infringing use



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