On April 12 2016 the Maritime and Commercial High Court ruled in JT Olesen ApS v Natex of Scandinavia A/S (V-51-15).
JT Olesen ApS, a Danish fashion company, manufactured and sold clothes under the trademark KRONSTADT. JT Olesen had acquired a Danish design registration (DR 2011 00079) for one of its products, the 'Oscar Shirt'.
Natex of Scandinavia A/S, also a Danish company in the clothing wholesale market, manufactured textiles and clothing, including a product called the 'Stanfield Shirt'.
JT Olesen filed a lawsuit and brought a claim for damages against Natex for violation of the Design Act and the Marketing Practices Act caused by its sale of the Stanfield Shirt, which it alleged was similar to its Oscar Shirt.
The court ruled in favour of JT Olesen. It found that the Stanfield Shirt infringed the registered design of the Oscar Shirt and was also a slavish imitation of it under the Marketing Practices Act.
The court noted that the distinctive features of the Oscar Shirt were a special four-button opening at the shoulder and contrasting-coloured edges in combination with stripes. Neither the stripes nor the contrasting-coloured edges alone were distinctive; however, these elements in combination with the button opening formed the shirt's distinctive design.
The court also stated that there were minor differences between the shirts (eg, in terms of the stripes); however, it found that the overall impressions that they created were the same.
The court further noted that Natex had not proven that JT Olesen's registered design lacked novelty, since it had mostly filed evidence from after the date of the 2011 design registration.
JT Olesen was awarded Dkr50,000 in damages and compensation.
For further information on this topic please contact Mads Marstrand-Jørgensen at NJORD Law Firm by telephone (+45 33 12 45 22) or email ([email protected]). The NJORD Law Firm website can be accessed at www.njordlaw.com.