A further step forward in protecting design products as authorial works

This time we would focus on the recent judgement n. 7432 of June 16th, 2015, of the Court of Milan.

The Court sentenced some of the Mondo Covenienza group subsidiary companies to pay about to 3.500.000 euros in favour of Flou s.p.a. as compensation for damages.

The reason why the aforementioned companies have been condemned to the payment of a such huge amount regards the commercialization of unauthorized copies of “Nathalie”, “the parent of all texile beds” (as reported on Flou official website) designed by Vico Magistretti in 1978.

Nathalie "the parent of all texile beds"- Vico Magistretti Design, 1978
Nathalie “the parent of all texile beds”- Vico Magistretti Design, 1978

The relevance of the judgment is due to two main reasons.

The first one is the recognition by the Court of Milan of design products as authorial works. Indeed, according to art. 2.1, n. 10 of the Italian L.D.A. (Legge Italiana sul Diritto d’Autore, n. 633/1941) the Court admitted the abstract protection of the texile bed – a large scale product – irrespective of whether it was a registered model or not.

Furthermore, the Court acknowledged the creative nature and the artistic value of “Nathalie” and it also stated that the artistic value of a design product must be considered focusing on the public perception of the design product and on the design experts’ opinion.

The second reason regards the fact that the huge compensation quantified by the Court is not merely symbolic, as it usually happens in similar cases, but it had been commensurated to the effective damages suffered by Flou in terms of sales lost and damages to the company image.

Finally, the Court denied the protection of the shape of the texile bed as non registered trademark according to art. 9 of Italian Intellectual Property Code.

Avv. Lavinia Savini

Dott. Antonio Gallo

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