Beer glass design rights Infringed

Posted: 18th November 2013

The manufacturer of a popular, high-waisted, beer glass has convinced the High Court that it has ‘individual character’ and that its design rights were violated by a rival product, notwithstanding that the latter was made of plastic.

PubThe maker of the plastic glass had admitted that its exterior dimensions were copied from the protected product. However, it stressed that its internal measurements and wall thickness were different. It was also submitted that the protected design lacked originality and was ‘commonplace’, in that it was very similar to other tall beer glasses prevalent on the market.

The Court acknowledged that the glass was ‘clearly the same type’ as others used in pubs, club and restaurants; however, it found that, at least in one respect, its design was not commonplace and had a character all of its own. The fact that the rival product was made of plastic made no difference to the overall visual impression and was in any event irrelevant as the design drawings had not specified particular materials.

Despite acknowledging that the glass was only entitled to a ‘narrow scope of protection’, given its similarity to others in widespread use, the Court found that the registered and unregistered design rights subsisting in the product were valid and had been infringed by its plastic rival.