Analysis: “Brompton bicycles: is copyright protection available for shapes?” by Sabine Jacques
Last Thursday, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) handed down its decision in the Brompton Bicycle case (C-833/18) on whether functional shapes are eligible for copyright protection. The referral questions were brought by a Belgian court (Tribunal de l’entreprise de Liège) in the context of a copyright infringement action against a Korean company selling comparable folding bikes. This case is of interest as it deepens the understanding of the possibility of overlapping intellectual property rights over the same item. It also offers the CJEU the opportunity to clarify the protection granted to shapes which are dictated by a functional element.
The object of copyright protection
According to settled CJEU case