Case Study
Household Product – Unfair Competition Law

Initial situation

Our client is one of the leading international manufacturers of household articles. The case at issue deals with one of our client’s bestsellers in the EU, a product with special graphical characteristics, i.e. an eye-catching arrangement of colors and graphical elements. A foreign competitor put an almost identical product on the German market, and even had a design registered in Germany. Our client decided to take action against both the sale of the product and the registered design. Since the competitor did not cease his activities in response to the warning letter we sent out, we filed a request for a preliminary injunction based on violation of competition law.

Action taken

HOFFMANN EITLE set up a team of attorneys-at-law specializing in trademark, design and competition law as well as patent attorneys having the relevant technical expertise. The team assisted the client throughout the proceedings and advised him in the subsequent settlement negotiations with the competitor.

Outcome

The regional court granted the preliminary injunction and ordered the competitor to cease from their activities regarding the product in dispute in Germany. The court’s decision acknowledged the competitive originality of our client's product and also confirmed that it had a high degree of market recognition. The almost identical design of the competitor’s product was ruled to be an attempt at misleading consumers regarding the origin of the product. The competitor complied with the decision, and subsequently signed a cease-and-desist declaration for the entire EU. Moreover, they also waived their registered German design right which was then cancelled.

Experts responsible for the project

Michaela Ring

Michaela Ring von HOFFMANN EITLE

Attorney-at-Law and Certified Specialist IP Lawyer

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W. v. d. Osten-Sacken

Wedig von der Osten-Sacken von HOFFMANN EITLE

LL.M., Attorney-at-Law
 

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