Country: Germany
Tribunal: Higher Regional Court of Frankfurt
Date: 08/12/2004
Case No.: 6 U 91/04 (Kanton-Messe)
Parties: --
Design: --
Citation(s): GRUR-RR 2004 Heft 11
Author: David Musker, R G C Jenkins & Co with thanks to Wedig von der Osten-Sacken, Hoffman Eitle

The Court held that the prior disclosure of a lamp design in the exhibition hotel at the Canton Fair in China prevented novelty of a later design. It was found that the European trade circles in the sector normally take notice of products which are presented at large Chinese trade fairs, such as the Canton Fair (approximately 100,000 visitors) and therefore such a disclosure falls within the state of the art.
Held that
  • The requirement that the disclosure come to the attention of the relevant EU circles was an exception and construed narrowly
  • The burden of proof was on the proprietor to show that it would NOT have come to their attention
  • Not only major trade shows are relevant