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Registered Community Design Invalidated Under Must Fit Exception

Written by Christina King on 04 January 2008

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A design for ‘fluid distribution equipment’ has become the first Registered Community Design to be invalidated on the grounds of the ‘must fit’ exception contained in Article 8(2) of the Community Design Regulation.

Article 8(2) states that “a Community design shall not subsist in features of appearance of a product which must necessarily be reproduced in their exact form and dimensions in order to permit the product in which the design is incorporated or to which it is applied to be mechanically connected to or placed in, around or against another product so that either product may perform its function.”

The problem with this design seems to have been the fact that it was comprised of a module which was to be fixed to the application head of a hotmelt application system. To this end the design contained two bores and two holes which were necessary to allow this too happen. It was further noted that a recessed area had to fit into the corresponding area on the application head to allow the two parts to fit together.

The owner of the Registered Community Design attempted to argue that only the two holes and bores had a technical function and that the part as a whole could be mounted in different ways to other manifolds or devices. It also indicated that when the module was connected to a flat service the recess had no technical function and in any case there was no need to reproduce this to the exact specifications or at all to allow it to be fixed to another part. Therefore it argued the ‘must fit’ exception did not apply.

However the OHIM Invalidity Division rejected this argument concluding that “the RCD subsists in features of appearance of a fluid distribution equipment which must necessarily be reproduced in the exact form and dimensions in order to permit the fluid distribution equipment in which the RCD is incorporated to be mechanically connected to the head of a hotmelt application system so that either product may perform its function. Therefore, the RCD is to be declared invalid”.

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