IPPT20100914, CJEU, Lego v OHIM

23-09-2010 Print this page



Sign consisting ‘exclusively’ of the shape of goods which is necessary to obtain a technical result
• that condition is fulfilled when all the essential characteristics of a shape perform a technical function, the presence of non-essential characteristics with no technical function being irrelevant in that context
• it ensures that such a sign cannot be refused registration as a trade mark under that provision if the shape of the goods at issue incorporates a major non-functional element, such as a decorative or imaginative element which plays an important role in the shape


Shape ‘necessary’ to obtain the technical result intended – alternative solutions
• the General Court rightly found, at paragraph 39 of the judgment under appeal, that that condition does not mean that the shape at issue must be the only one capable of obtaining that result


Identification “essential elements”
• As the Advocate General observed at point 63 of his Opinion, the expression ‘essential characteristics’ must be understood as referring to the most important elements of the sign.
• Consequently, the appellant’s argument that the identification of the essential characteristics of a sign in the context of Article 7(1)(e)(ii) of Regulation No 40/94 must in any event be carried out from the target public’s perspective cannot be upheld


Assessing technical functionality: documents relating to previous patents
• The technical functionality of the characteristics of a shape may be assessed, inter alia, by taking account of the documents relating to previous patents describing the functional elements of the shape concerned. In the present case, the Grand Board of Appeal of OHIM and the General Court have taken such documents into consideration with regard to the Lego brick


IPPT20100914, CJEU, Lego v OHIM