DESIGN | The General Court on the validity of the Lego bricks design

On 24 January 2024, the General Court (GC) handed down its decision in case T-537/22 (Delta Sport Handelskontor v EUIPO), concerning the validity of a design when only one of its characteristics is contested as being excluded from protection because of their technical function. In the case at issue, the claimant sought the annulment of the EUIPO decision declaring that Lego bricks benefited from a specific exception laid down in Council Regulation (EC) No 6/2002 of 12 December 2001, according to which designs which consist of interconnecting shapes in the context of modular systems fall within the remit of design protection. Notably, Lego bricks could not benefit from such exception as their appearance would be dictated by technical function. The GC dismissed the action on the ground that a design can only be declared invalid if all of its characteristics are excluded from protection. Since some of the arguments raised by Delta Sport Handelskontor concern only one feature, they must be considered ineffective. Furthermore, Delta Sport Handelskontor did not establish that Lego bricks failed to meet the criteria required under the modular systems exception.

Newsletter n. 93 – February 2024