Barilla vs Italy Fashion s.r.l.: When winning is a piece of cake07 marzo 2018 -
Di Federica Pezza
It’s time for elections. It’s time for break..fast news.
The ruling of the month comes from Milan (sentenza 830/2018) and is all about cookies, chocolate chips, baking powder… And trademark, of course.
But let’s start from the beginning, before we all get too hungry.
You might know “Barilla”, the Italian company that is worldwide known for its handmade pasta. Yes, the one you will never find at Tesco. Well, apparently, the same company is also quite good at baking. “Gocciole”, “Pan di Stelle”, “Rigoli” and “Ringo” are just some of the biscuits produced by Barilla, for the joy of hundreds of hungry Italian people. And they are tasty, indeed. So tasty, that somebody (Italy Fashion s.r.l – the defendant) had the brilliant idea to create an ENTIRE Barilla-based cushion collection. The idea behind it, we guess, was combining the sweetness of the famous cookies with the softness of the pillows.
(Well done to the marketing team.)
But in this fairy tale, made up of sugar and spice and employees ‘bonus’, there is an obstacle or, precisely, nine of them. Yes, because Barilla, well aware of the success of its biscuits, had already regular registrations in place for all of them. Therefore, on this ground, the company sued its competitor before the Court of Milan for the infringement of its trademarks. In reviewing the relevant facts, the Court found in favour of the claimant and condemned the defendant to the payment of the damages and the costs of litigation.
The case is particularly interesting as it gives us the opportunity to revise some of the fundamental rules in trademark law. In particular, both the notion of reputed marks and the one of online infringement which were analysed by the judge.
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