Nordia News

Case: design and copyright infringement

By Pinja Hoffrichter
Published: 22.08.2023 | Posted in Cases

NORDIA Law represented TSG Associates LLP in a case involving design and copyright infringement

TSG Associates, a company manufacturing medical devices, had registered two EU Community designs for their Triage tags, which are widely used around the world in mass casualty situations. TSG brought a lawsuit against a Finnish entity that had recently started manufacturing and selling a similar product in Finland. On the other hand, the opposing party counterclaimed to invalidate our client’s design rights and denied the claims entirely.

The Market Court determined that the design of our client’s English-language version of the Triage tag was novel and distinctive, and the design rights registration should not be invalidated. The opposing party’s Triage tag design differed only in irrelevant details from our client’s design, thus infringing upon our client’s design rights.

Furthermore, the case concerned whether the works protected by design rights also met the threshold for copyright protection and whether the works enjoyed concurrent copyright protection. The Market Court concluded that TSG’s patient classification cards constituted literary works containing text, tables, and drawings. The works were entirely results of independent creative effort and original. The requirements set for the cards were of a nature that allowed significant room for the author’s original choices and execution.

The Market Court determined that the opposing party’s patient classification card, when assessed as a whole, was nearly identical, especially compared to TSG’s Finnish-language patient classification card. The differences between the opposing party’s card and TSG’s card were deemed minor and negligible.

The Market Court affirmed that the opposing party had infringed upon our client’s registered Community design by manufacturing, offering, and placing their own patient classification card on the market. Additionally, the opposing party had infringed upon our client’s copyright by manufacturing and making their patient classification card available to the public.

The Market Court ordered the opposing party to destroy the registered Community design they held and the patient classification cards that infringed upon our client’s copyright. The opposing party was also required to compensate our client for the legal costs incurred.

Examine the Market Court’s decision in Finnish (appealed) in more detail.

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Pinja Hoffrichter
Attorney, Partner, Helsinki +358 40 518 2234

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