BMW obtain ground breaking High Court ruling confirming that alloy wheel designs are protectable under EU law

BMW have obtained a ground breaking ruling from the High Court which confirms that alloy wheel designs are protectable under EU law.

The Court ruled that alloy wheels are not spare parts as the overall appearance and design of a vehicle is not dependant on them. This is in contrast to parts such as wing mirrors or side panels which have a direct impact on the appearance and design function of a vehicle. The Court recognised that BMW offered a variety of alloy wheel designs which a consumer could choose between at the time of purchase or have retro-fitted at a later date, to upgrade, alter or distinguish a vehicle. The wheels were not offered simply for the purposes of repair. This is the first decision in the UK on this area of EU law which deals with car spare parts and accessories. The judgment is a welcome confirmation for the motor industry which invest millions of pounds each year in the development of these designs.

Mishcon de Reya acted for BMW on this case.

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