Community Design for fluid distribution equipment declared invalid

20-06-2019 Print this page

(Courtesy of Gert-Jan van den Bergh en Auke van Hoek, Bergh Stoop & Sanders en Berber Brouwer, Brouwer & Law)


Design Law - Proceedings regarding the Registered Community Design for ‘fluid distribution equipment’. According to the EUIPO Boards of Appeal, the contested decision correctly found that the contested RCD subsists in features of a fluid distribution equipment which are solely dictated by its technical function and that the contested RCD is to be declared invalid according to Article 25(1)(b) CDR in conjunction with Article 8(1) CDR.



Article 8(1) CDR denies protection to features of a product’s appearance that are ‘solely dictated by its technical function’. The Board agrees with the invalidity applicant that all the following features of the contested design are solely dictated by their technical function: a) the housing with an opening and a number of holes; b) a number of hollow tubes attached to the housing; c) a number of inflatable balloons connected to the ends of the tubes and d) a number of fasteners fixing the balloons to the tubes.


The board finds that all those features are necessary for the technical solution to the question of how to fill a number of inflatable balloons at the same time. The fact that the design has a ‘simple and clear appearance’ similar to a ‘flower and stem’ due to the choice as to the length of the straws in relation to the length of the balloon and that the ‘proportions of  the design as a whole namely the length being about 18 times the width, giving the design a sleek and elegant appearance appealing to the user’ does not change the fact that the visual aspect of the device is still the result of its technical function. The mere fact that a design alternative exists does not mean that a product’s appearance has been dictated by anything other than technical considerations (IPPT2018030).


The Board therefore rules that all the essential features of the contested RCD have been chosen with a view to designing a product that performs its function. None of those features has been chosen simply for the purpose of enhancing the product’s visual appearance.


Read the decision here.