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Karen Millen Fashions Ltd v. Dunnes Stores (Limerick) Ltd
European Union Court of Justice, Second Chamber
Case C-345/13 (2014)
Karen Miller Fashions Ltd (KMF) (plaintiff) designed a striped shirt and a black knit top for women and sold them in Ireland. Dunnes Stores (Limerick) Ltd (Dunnes) (defendant), an Irish clothing retailer, arranged for a company representative to purchase examples of the KMF garments. Dunnes then manufactured copies of the garments and offered them for sale in Ireland. KMF brought an action in Ireland for an injunction to restrain Dunnes from using the designs and sued for damages. The court sided with KMF, and Dunnes appealed to the Ireland Supreme Court. Dunnes conceded that it copied the KMF designs and that the designs were new. However, Dunnes argued that KMF did not hold an unregistered Community design (i.e., a design protected by the EU Community Design Regulation even without being registered) for the garments because the garments did not have an individual character when compared to a composite of existing designs. Dunnes also argued that, for the garments to be protected by law, KMF was required to prove that the garments had an individual character and it failed to do so. The Ireland Supreme Court referred questions of law for preliminary rulings to the European Union Court of Justice.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Per curiam)
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