Similarity of design (Infringement case)
(Conclusion) Defendant’s design is not similar to the registered design.(Design right owner lost.)
This case showed the general criterion on how to consider publicly-known designs when determining the main part of a registered design. (This criterion is still being followed by later court cases now.)
No special creativity or aesthetic value can be recognized in the basic shape of a registered design because publicly known designs having the same or very similar basic structure already exist.
Therefore, the essential part of the registered design is the shape and arrangement of the detail (handle of the front face of the mirror plate attached to the right basic shape, hook and other front shapes, the overall impression derived from the rectangular frame-shaped assembly structure of the cabinet body etc.)
Though the Defendant’s design is the same in basic shape to the registered designs, it is not similar because there are significant differences in such detail (the framework of the cabinet body on other surfaces, excluding the bottom, and the shape of the nails and screws).
<Writer: Hideki Takaishi (Attorney-at-law licensed in Japan and California)>