Israeli Supreme Court – Copying a Design is not Enough for a Liability

On December 2016 we reported on the fashion designer Gadi Elemelech who sued Renuar a chain of women’s clothing in Israel, for selling dresses that was confusingly similar to his designed dress.

The Court District Court  ruled that the disputed dress constitute passing off and that Elimelech has proved goodwill.

We criticized this decision and indeed the ruling was appealed to the Israel Supreme Court which overturned it, in an agreed decision without costs.

The Supreme Court simply mentioned that copying a design is not enough for a liability and referred to the precedent of 945/06 General-Mills vs Meshubach ruling in which  the Supreme Court stipulated that a mere imitation of a product cannot constitute a passing off unless there is a likelihood of confusion between the products. It is also imperative to establish a reputation in order to sue for a passing off claim.

Comment

It become more and more difficult to protect unregistered designs in Israel, but soon there will be new regulations on protecting unregistered designs. Stay tuned.