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Stretching Trademark Laws to Protect Product Packaging

On April and July 2013, the Civil Court of Turin issued two interesting decisions – in the frame of interim proceedings – concerning a look-alike case. In fact, the Court has expressly recognised that the packaging and the trade-dress of a product are composed of an overall combination and arrangement of design elements, including graphics, layout, colours and colour combinations that have, or in any case may acquire, significant distinctiveness in the consumer’s mind, due to extensive use of the product – with the relevant peculiar trade-dress -, thus effectively becoming a de facto/unregistered trademark. Defined as such, the packaging and trade-dress of the product are protected, according to Trademark Law and therefore may take advantage of all the tools offered by the Italian Intellectual Property Code, which are more effective – also from a procedural point of view – than those available, if unfair competition rules are applied. We publish the article written by Paola Gelato and Francesca Bego Ghina, published on the English web-based legal forum “Lexology”.