On 16 February 2023, the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) handed down its decision in case C-472/21 (Monz Handelsgesellschaft International mbH & Co. KG v Büchel GmbH & Co. Fahrzeugtechnik KG) concerning the interpretation of the notions of "visibility" and "normal use" in relation to complex products under Article 3 of Directive No. 98/71/EC of 13 October 1998 on the legal protection of designs. The Court held that the "visibility" of a component part of a complex product should be assessed during the "normal use" of that complex product. Such normal use encompasses both "principal use" as well as all the reasonable and logical usages of a complex product made by an end user, with the exception of maintenance, servicing or repair work operations (excluded as per Article 3 of Directive No. 98/71/EC). On this point, the Court confirmed the findings of the conclusion of the Advocate General (commented in the October issue of our Echo).

Originally published by March, 2023

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