Fashion Law

H&M’s Fashion Law Claim Against Saint Laurent

After 6 Years, Yves Saint Laurent handbag designs finally overcome H&M challenges.

In 2006, the Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market (OHIM) approved the registration of two Community designs, which were intended to apply towards YSL handbag designs.

In 2009, H&M filed two applications with OHIM, seeking a declaration of invalidity in respect to the designs registered by YSL. H&M basically wanted to knock-off YSL so they claimed that the designs had no individual character.

Following the rejection of its applications for a declaration of invalidity, H&M filed two notices of appeal with OHIM. H&M’s fashion law appeals were rejected by decisions entered on July 8, 2013.

OHIM found that although the YSL and H&M designs have features in common, the differences in regards to shape, structure, and finish quality play a decisive role in the overall impression produced by the handbags.

OHIM reasoned that even given the high degree of freedom in the protected YSL designs, an informed consumer, would recognize the significant variances which differentiated the H&M and YSL handbag designs at issue. H&M sought annulment of these OHIM decisions.

On September 10, 2015, the General Court of the European Union, declared that Yves Saint Laurent’s two Community handbag designs overcome H&M’s community design oppositions.

Designs are registered with OHIM and receive EU Wide protection for 25 years. Designers also benefit from the unregistered design right that automatically gives designs three years of protection without registration.

Final judgments available: case T-525/13 and T-526/13.

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