COURT OF APPEAL OF MUNICH, DECISION OF 14 OCTOBER 2010, 29 U 2001/10
The Court of Appeal of Munich decided that an egg-boiler, designed by the Bauhaus artist Wilhelm Wagenfeld, was a work of applied art and enjoyed copyright protection against infringing copies.
Please click here to view Wagenfeld egg-boiler In 1934, the Bauhaus artist Wilhelm Wagenfeld designed the following egg-boiler for production by Jenaer Glaswerke S&G. Since 2007, the defendant has produced and sold the following egg-boiler:
Please click here to view the Defendant's egg-boiler
Zweisel Kristallglas AG, the successor of Jenaer Glaswerke, claimed copyright infringement. The District Court of Munich granted the claims.
On appeal, the Court of Appeal of Munich confirmed the decision. The court said that Wilhelm Wagenfeld's egg-boiler was a work of applied art and enjoyed copyright protection. Although being an everyday household object, the design of the egg-boiler was very different from the average shapes and designs of egg-boilers available on the market. The appealing, even artistic design showed the highly creative character of the Bauhaus work.
Comparing the egg-boilers, the court found that the defendant's egg-boiler slavishly imitated the key features of Wilhelm Wagenfeld's egg-boiler.
The court also rejected the argument of the defendant that its design of the egg-boiler fell under the exemption of "free use" according to article 24 of the German Copyright law, by holding that this exemption required the creation of an independent work with considerable differences to the original work — which was not the case here.