Disputed torch case illuminates copyright within the field of industrial design

The High Court considers that the appearance of the Mini-Maglites torch is sufficiently unique to warrant copyright protection. The decision gives lawyers and designers guidelines as to what differentiates industrial design from work.

It all started with the manufacturer Mag Instruments suing IKEA for copying and selling an imitation of their Mini-Maglite torch. The company asserted that the torch was a industrial design and that IKEA had thereby infringed their copyright.

The case was forwarded to the High Court amd became the first in which the High Court has made a decision relating to copyright regarding work. The High Court decided in favour of the American torch manufacturer. The High Court considered that the torch was more than a practical torch. The decision is precedential.

- We now have a clearer idea of how the High Court judges the threshold of originality with the field of industrial design. It is however not an exact science. The High Court namely made a reservation and stated that this was a borderline case, commented Susanne Mellqvist, a lawyer at Valea.
TEXT: CHRISTIAN DAUN

Read the full article on page 8 (only in Swedish)
Omtvistat ficklampsmål belyser upphovsrätt inom brukskonsten

Also read Valeas previous article:
Ikea wins Court of Appeal hearing on copyright infringement against Mag Instruments