by Sajan C Kumar from https://www.financialexpress.com
The EUIPO invalidity division annulled the registration since it was “incapable of eliciting a different general impression” with respect to the registered design of the Vespa Primavera, and pointed out that the registration was an unlawful attempt to reproduce the scooter’s aesthetic elements.
Italian two-wheeler and commercial vehicle manufacturer Piaggio Group, which has significant brand equity in India, has won a battle against the Chinese copy of its iconic scooter Vespa by getting the design of the ‘lookalike’ invalidated by the invalidity division of the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO). The Group’s Baramati facility in Maharashtra produces 3- and 4-wheel cargo vehicles for the the Indian market and export, Vespa scooters for the local market, Aprilia scooters as well as diesel and turbocharged diesel engines for the Group’s commercial vehicles.Piaggio Group, in a statement, said that a design registered by a Chinese party, used to justify the production of scooters similar to the Vespa exhibited at the EICMA 2019 two-wheeler show in Milan, had been declared invalid by the invalidity division of the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO). The alleged copycat has also been removed by the authorities of the Fiera exhibition centre, after a complaint was lodged by Piaggio.
The EUIPO invalidity division annulled the registration since it was “incapable of eliciting a different general impression” with respect to the registered design of the Vespa Primavera, and pointed out that the registration was an unlawful attempt to reproduce the scooter’s aesthetic elements. The Vespa Primavera is protected by the design registered by the Piaggio Group in 2013, by the three-dimensional trademark of the Vespa scooter and by the copyright that safeguards the artistic value of the shape of the Vespa, a style icon since 1946.
The invalidity proceedings were part of the wider activities against counterfeiting undertaken by the Piaggio Group for years. This includes continuous monitoring of the databases of internationally registered designs and trademarks, which, as a result of the opposition proceedings initiated by Piaggio, has led to the cancellation of more than 50 trademarks registered by third parties in the last two years.Piaggio Group, on May 11, said that all its production facilities around the world have resumed operations after the shutdown due to the Covid-19 virus. Production also started up again this morning at the Indian factory in Baramati. In India, the lockdown among dealers ended last week, with the re-opening of around 190 commercial vehicle and two-wheeler dealers, and the subsequent resumption of commercial activities. Piaggio Group’s Italian factories went back to work on May 4, whereas the Vietnamese facility experienced slowdowns in operations due to suppliers but always continued production.
Releasing the first quarter results on May 8, Piaggio Group chair and CEO Roberto Colaninno, said: “Despite the dreadful emergency created by the world pandemic, the Piaggio Group has successfully passed the first-quarter test and is investing in the future in terms of sustainable, technologically advanced mobility for people as well as for goods transportation. 2020 is obviously a complicated year and it is difficult to have any certainties, but every decision is and will be considered very carefully to ensure we maintain adequate capital ratios. I am confident, it couldn’t be otherwise.” Piaggio Group reported a net profit for the first quarter of 2020 of €3.1 million against €7.8 million in the first quarter of 2019. In India in the first quarter of 2020 the Piaggio Group sold 37,400 commercial vehicles, with a reduction of 14.4% in net sales. Piaggio Vehicles Private (PVPL), the Indian subsidiary had an overall share of 24.3% of the domestic three-wheeler market and confirmed its leadership in the cargo segment with a share of 47.2%, up from 44.8% in the first quarter of 2019.