Why patent attorneys love 911s
(District Court 17 O 1324/17)

Some of us patent attorneys are also car aficionados. It is claimed that one or the other patent attorney has a 911 Porsche in the garage. The enthusiasm for the 911 may be due to the absolutely unique design. This design has now become the subject matter of a copyright dispute (17 O 1324/17) before the district court of Stuttgart.

The daughter of the Porsche designer Erwin Franz Komenda sued Porsche demanding copyright payments under the fairness exchange provision (§ 32a UrhG) arguing the present and previous 911’s are in essence still using Komenda’s design. Her papa had worked for Porsche from 1931 until 1966 during which time he was also responsible for the construction and design of the 356 model and the original 911 model. The plaintiff has now argued the 997 model and 991 are using the original 911 design. The court did not follow this line of argumentation. The court did appreciate that the design of car model such as the 356 and the 911 falls within copyright protectable subject matter.

However, it did not follow that plaintiff’s argumentation that the present models 997 or 991 were copies of this design which according to the court had only a limited “scope” of protection. We will see if a second instance follows – in the meantime happy 911 greetings.