COPYRIGHT – A new referral to the ECJ regarding copyright protection of a design

On 21 December 2023, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) received a new request from the German Federal Court for a preliminary ruling on the protectability of the designs of some pieces of furniture by copyright law and the interpretation of Directive 2001/29 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 May 2001 on the harmonisation of certain aspects of copyright and related rights in the information society. This request follows another one recently lodged as case C-580/23 by the Swedish Patent and Market Supreme Court. The German Federal Court asks whether designs to be protected under copyright law must satisfy greater originality requirements in terms of the author’s creative choices compared to other types of works. The ECJ’s decisions in these cases would be relevant, as they would clarify the findings of the previous decision rendered in the Cofemel case (case C-683/17), which suggested that originality for designs – and, in general, works of applied art – should be treated equally to other works that are protectable under copyright law.

Newsletter n. 92 – January 2024