Acacia - Case C-397/16
Acacia, the manufacturer of replica car wheels, has been sued in the Italian and German courts by Audi, BMW and the owners of Porsche for producing replica wheels to fit their cars. Acacia has responded to these claims by arguing a defence based on the "repair clause" in Article 110 of Regulation 6/2002. This clause states that there will be no design right protection for a design that constitutes a component part of a complex product for the purpose of repair to restore the product to its original appearance. This defence is now the subject of a preliminary reference from the Italian courts.
The questions referred to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) by the Milan Court of Appeal effectively ask the CJEU to decide how restrictively to interpret this repair clause. The questions ask whether the repair clause excludes replica wheels that are aesthetically identical to the original wheels and, if not, whether the repair clause excludes complementary products that may be selected freely by the customer.