In an important decision for unregistered design right holders, the Court of Justice of the European Union (the CJEU) delivered its judgment yesterday in Karen Millen Fashions Ltd v Dunnes Stores (Case C-345/13).
Karen Millen Fashions, a well-known British clothing retailer, claimed infringement of their unregistered design rights in three items of clothing by Dunnes Stores, a large Irish retail chain. The Irish High Court granted relief to Karen Millen in the form of an injunction restraining Dunnes Stores from using the designs and also in damages. Dunnes Stores, although not denying that it had copied the Karen Millen designs, appealed the decision to the Irish Supreme Court on the grounds that the items of clothing did not have individual character within the meaning of Article 6 of Regulation 6/2002 (The Regulations) and further that Karen Millen Fashions Ltd were required, under the Regulations, to prove that the design had individual character.
The Irish Supreme Court in turn referred two questions to the CJEU under the preliminary reference procedure.