According to the Italian court, an industrial design can enjoy copyright protection if it has an artistic value

According to the Italian court, an industrial design can enjoy copyright protection if it has an artistic value

In July, the Court of Milan issued an interesting decision that granted copyright protection to the famous après-ski boots “Moon Boots” on the basis that they have recognized artistic value. In fact, the court recognized that Moon Boots have a particular aesthetic appeal capable of deeply changing the concept of après-ski boots, so that they have become an actual icon of Italian design.

In this case, the producer of the famous après-ski boots sued the producer and the distributor of a similar type of boots, called “Anouk Boots”. They alleged they constituted copyright infringement, infringement of the registered community design as well as unfair competition and asked for applicable remedies and compensation.

The decision is particularly interesting because it specifies that the artistic value, which is an essential requirement for enjoying copyright protection, can be recognized also in industrial design products that can be actually appreciated not only for their functionality but also, and even more, for their aesthetic significance.

The Court also stressed that the importance of the artistic value can be easily ascertained when industrial designed products receive, across the years, national and international awards, popularity and favorable critique. In the case, the Court considered a quotable circumstance the fact that Moon Boots were selected and exhibited at the Louvre Museum of Paris as one of the 100 most significant design icons of the 20th century.

On this basis, the Court of Milan ascertained that Anouk Boots were counterfeited goods constituting copyright infringement of the exclusive rights held by Moon Boots proprietors. According to the Court, unfair competition issues have been absorbed within the copyright infringement while the ascertained copyright infringement has made irrelevant the assessment of the alleged infringement of the community design.