Paris 1st Instance Court - HUMEAU BEAUPREAU v/ CARREFOUR

Decision date

2015-04-10

Decision No.

13/11016

Nature

Copyright

Country

France

Jurisdiction

Paris First Instance Court

Parties

HUMEAU BEAUPREAU v/ CARREFOUR

The HUMEAU-BEAUPREAU Company was represented by Arnaud CASALONGA, Attorney at law, assisted by Jean-Louis LACROIX and Audrey DANEL, Attorneys at law.

In light of a considerable expansion in the commercialization of counterfeits of the famous Méduse™ beach sandal brand, an iconic and symbolic French accessory, the French Courts have been required to decide on its copyright protection for the first time, which protection they have upheld.

Indeed, the HUMEAU-BEAUPREAU Company, which manufactures and sells this PVC model, produced since 1946, sued the CARREFOUR Company in particular for copyright infringement and unfair competition.

The 1st instance Court of Paris considered that the combination of characteristics of this model was original, due to its own physiognomy, bearing its creator’s own personality, resulting from choices in which the functional interest is obviously taken into account, but without necessarily imposing the aesthetic choices.

It thereby confirmed the method for assessing the originality, which should be carried out in a holistic way, excluding the prior art which does not have the same combination of elements with a close arrangement.

It also considered that the CARREFOUR Company committed acts of unfair competition, separate from copyright infringement acts, by importing and commercializing the litigious model in a similar range of colors to that of the HUMEAU-BEAUPREAU Company.

Pursuant to the recent provisions of Article L.331-1-3 of the intellectual property Code, the Court accordingly sentenced the CARREFOUR Company to pay to the Claimant an overall amount of 342 000 Euros in view of the commercial harm suffered, taking into account not only the profits made (estimated at 262 000 Euros), but also the lost profits of the HUMEAU-BEAUPREAU Company (estimated at 80 000 Euros).

The Court also prohibited the Defendant from pursuing such actions, subject to a penalty of 150 Euros per established violation, ordered the publication of the judgment, and sentenced it to pay the amount of 6 000 Euros pursuant to Article 700 of the civil procedure Code, and to pay the costs of the proceeding.