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Could Ferrari case help other luxury brands tackle knock-offs?

Exclusivity can have a tremendous impact on the price and demand for a product or service. Often, people are willing to pay more for something they view as elite or unattainable by others. 

For instance, there can be an incredible demand for luxury handbags or limited releases of a sneaker. And for those who secure these items, proving they are exclusive by pointing to the product’s design is critical. That is why a recent case involving Ferrari has drawn so much interest among luxury brands.

Turning $250,000 into $2.6 million

According to reports, Ferrari sued Mansory, a car modification company, for a body kit made by the company that looks very close to the track-only Ferrari FXX K. The Mansory body kit makes the $250,000 Ferrari 488 GTB look just like the much pricer $2.6 million FXX K model.

The carmaker sold an extremely limited number of the FXX K and argued that the Mansory body kit infringes on their copyrighted designs. The kit reportedly includes highly specific and identifiable design features of the Ferrari FXX K, including a V-shaped hood.

In their decision in favor of Ferrari, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) found that Mansory infringed Ferrari’s rights to the unregistered designs. More specifically, the CJEU stated that design rights can protect a component that is “a visible section of the product or complex product, clearly defined by particular lines, contours, colours, shapes or texture.”

This case could have far-reaching implications for other luxury brands seeking to protect unregistered designs from counterfeiters and makers of look-alike products.

Protecting exclusivity

A brand does not gain exclusive status easily. Make a product too available, and it becomes less valuable; create something without enough identifiable features, and it becomes easy for others to copy.

Thus, if you provide goods or services that you want to distinguish as an offering of your brand for the purposes of exclusivity, protecting that material with tools like copyrights will be essential. Doing so can prevent others from profiting from your creative expression.


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