Judgement in the case Cofemel v. G-Star
In intellectual property law, objects can sometimes be protected by different rights. This is so uncommon, but in the case of conflicts, fundamental questions about the coexistence of different rights arise. Recently, the CJEU dealt with the relationship between copyrights and the rights arising from a design in a judgement from 12 September 2019 in the case C-683/17 (Cofemel v. G-Star).
The world-famous jeans producer G-Star has sued its competitor because the later was producing similar designs of jeans and T-shirts. The Portuguese court, to which the case was handed, said that the works of applied arts, industrial designs and design works can without doubt be copyrighted. However, the court was not sure to what extent should the originality be scrutinized. This is why the court asked the CJEU, whether it is in accordance with Article 2(a) of the Directive 2001/29/ES (InfoSoc Directive) to define “works” by its unique and distinguished visual effect from an aesthetic point of view.
The CJEU said that the term “work” should be interpreted uniformly in the whole EU. The EU law sets two cumulative conditions for a work to be copyrighted; the object has to be original in the sense of the author’s own intellectual creation and the elements of the work have to be an expression of that creation. Also, the object needs to be identifiable precisely and objectively.
The Bern convention for the protection of literary and artistic works does not preclude the possibility of cumulation of different rights. Also in accordance with EU law, design rights and copyrights do not exclude each other. Nevertheless, each protection system pursue different goals and is differently regulated. Copyrighting an object protected as a design should not interfere with the goals and the effectiveness of the protection. When copyright protection is assessed according to the InfoSoc Directive, the only two relevant conditions are the originality and the expression of the creation. The aesthetical element is therefore not relevant as it can be extremely subjective.
On 23rd of November, 2021, the European Commission has published two reports in the field of copyright, as required by Directives 2014/26/EU (CRM Directive) and 2019/790 (DSM Directive). They are supported by two studies: Study on emerging issues on collective licensing management in the digital environment, and Study on selected issues relating to the application of the CRM Directive.
A new book “Law and Artificial Intelligence: Issues of Ethics, Human Rights and Social Harm” was published (Institute of Criminology at the Faculty of law in Ljubljana, 2021), the editors of which are prof. dr. Aleš Završnik and dr. Katja Simončič. The author of one of the articles is also dr. Maja Bogataj Jančič, LL.M., LL.M., who wrote an article on the topic of whether artificial intelligence can be an author of a copyright work.
Jožef Štefan Institute is organising GO-DIP workshop series, first of them coming on November 19th, 2021 is revolving around software IP and data agreements. The GO-DIP project aims to increase the competencies of knowledge generators and intermediaries. At 15.10 dr. Maja Bogataj Jančič, LL.M., LL.M. will be lecturing in the Workshop: Development of a checklist for model digital IP agreements. Welcome!
2nd GPAI Summit will occur from 11-12 November, 2021 in Paris, France. Leading international AI experts from civil society, academia, industry and governments, including ministerial-level delegates from GPAI’s Membership, will come together for GPAI’s annual event. This public-facing event will include reporting on the ten Working Groups’ study topics, including the reporting of Data Governance Working Group (DG WG). Public conferences will be broadcasted live on GPAI’s Youtube channel. Welcome!