Friday 16 March 2012

Five stripes and you're nicked: copyright and Dutch police cars

A distinguished member of the intellctual property community has contacted this weblog with a question relating to Dutch copyright law. She writes:
"This Dutch opinion was brought to my attention but, because it's in Dutch, I am not quite sure what it says. I'm told that the design of stripes on a police car was considered a valid copyright work, which means that it has ramifications that extend far beyond trade mark law, i.e., stopping anyone else from using the same stripes anywhere. Can you explain it to us?"
Can one or more of our Dutch readers be of assistance? 


Anonymous said...


It ain't perfect but you can get the gist

Ster said...

Same counts for the summary of IE-Forum, an editorial note: the defendent didn't hire a lawyer since they couldn't handle a lawyers fee:

Anonymous said...

Quick translation from Dutch IP-website “Copyright. Coattail-riding. Plaintiff, the State of the Netherlands, is (after transfer) the copyright owner of the house style of the police. Based on that copyright, it challenges the use of so-called police-striping on the vehicles of a private security company. The court allocates the claims of the State.

That the striping is copyright protected is not disputed. Although there are differences between the two stripings, the overall impression is the same and of judge concludes that there is a likelihood of confusion. “It cannot be expected that people are that familiar with the exact striping that the police vehicles carry, that they will notice the differences immediately." The desire to profit from the reliable reputation of the police is considered ‘understandable’ but cannot soften the infringing character of the stripings used by the defendant. (No random enforcement: 140 other cases about infringing stripings are said to be pending).