German Federal Supreme Court Decides on Preconditions for Protection of Non-Registered European Design Patents

The German Federal Supreme Court rendered a landmark decision on the preconditions for protection of a non-registered European design patent. Protection for this non-registered right only comes into existence if the design has been published in the territory of the European Community. A publication outside this territory is not sufficient. On the other hand, publications outside the territory of the European Community can be novelty destroying if the publication could have been noticed by the skilled community of the respective branch in the normal course of business. It is noted that this German Federal Supreme Court decision is not binding courts in other European countries.