Limited Edition Products Can they be Protected under IP
Several times, we see that luxury brands come up with limited edition products,
whether it is cars, watches, cosmetics, chocolates, electronics, etc., and
enthusiasts do not spare even a moment to get their hands on these products.
Limited edition means that the company sells ‘altered’ limited units of an original
best-selling product that already exists at a higher price, or it could even be a
limited number of products that are manufactured and sold. The aim is to
generate credibility and attract consumers by showing the exclusivity of the
product. A critical issue to be addressed is whether these limited-edition products
can get protection under Intellectual Property (IP) law, just as regular products
do, and if yes, then which is the most appropriate form of IP Protection?
Protection for Limited Edition Products under Trademark Law
The biggest challenge that arises when it comes to protecting a limited edition
product as a trademark is showing continuous use of the trademark. As we know,
limited edition goods come into the market only for a short period, are marketed
by the brand upon the launch, and the logos are hardly ever put into use by the
proprietor because they have already been sold. The brand does not create more
of these to maintain the attractiveness and exclusivity associated with the limited
or special edition products.
This issue was very recently seen in the case of the limited-edition Ferrari 250
GTO. Ferrari registered the trademark to protect the shape of its 250 GTO model
back in 2008, despite only having manufactured the cars between 1962 and 1964.
Ares Design, an Italian car manufacturer, filed a cancellation action against
Ferrari’s mark by arguing that it had not been used for a continuous five-year
period. While Ferrari was able to show that the shape mark had been used
concerning toy cars, EUIPO found that the mark had not been used for vehicles
in the relevant five-year period. As a result, Ferra