Hema: ‘These holders can also be used for nuts!’

Another case of potential slavish imitation: a company that will remain nameless makes beautiful, delicate tea light holders (you’ve guessed it – the undersigned is the proud owner of a number of these designer “mood light holders”, upper picture). They are white on the outside and brightly coloured on the inside, which means they give off a warm light when a tea light is lit inside them. Hema also puts light holders onto the market, which are white on the outside and brightly coloured on the inside. At first glance, the holders appear to be very similar. Company X, which makes the designer holders therefore took the matter to court.
At the end of May, the Amsterdam preliminary relief court ruled that despite the similarities there is no case of slavish imitation. As opposed to the coin pendants, the court found that Hema had done everything necessary to prevent both products being unnecessarily confused.
The preliminary relief court accepts Hema’s defence that there is no case of unnecessary risk of confusion. And for the following reason: the Hema dishes are made of glossy, non-opaque metal and not of fragile porcelain, as are those of company X. This means that the Hema holders are also suitable for serving nuts in, for example, as Hema put forward. The claimant’s holders are far too delicate for that. These differences are also visible when the products are looked at separately. The preliminary relief court agreed with this and asserted that Hema had complied with its obligation to do everything necessary to prevent confusion.
This means that this lawyer can expand her collection of mood light holders and spend a lot less in the process.
Dorothée de Rooy

Print this article