The Intellectual Property Court rendered the 105-Min-Zhu-Shang-4 Civil Decision on October 20, 2016 (the “Decision”) in which it held that if the outer package of a product is designed by incorporating elements such as lines and graphics and arranged in general with other wordings, it is deemed an artistic work protected under the Copyright Act.
Appellant sells ÒExforgeÓ products in Taiwan. The packaging for AppelleeÕs product Asartan is alleged by Appellant as possessing substantial similarity in design with that of ExforgeÕs in terms of colors and arrangement used. Appellant sought compensation for copyright infringement and request for destruction of AppelleeÕs infringing items.
According to the Decision, although the artistic work at issue is outer product packaging, the arrangement of blue, white, orange and khaki colors, when designed as a whole for display aesthetics with elements such as lines and graphics, the result is no longer merely an arrangement of colors; in such fusion of lines and image elements and the overall design with other text, there is sufficient display of the creatorÕs artistic skill and independent thinking to meet the requirement of putting aesthetics as the key characteristic of the artwork. Therefore, the Exforge product outer package design is an artistic work protectable under the Copyright Act.
However, while the Exforge packaging design employs substantial use of straight lines and rectangular shapes, with the front and back using different compositions, AppelleeÕs Asartan product uses curves and ovals, so there is no substantial similarity. Further, the Exforge design places the name on the right in black and white text, while Asartan places the name of the pharmaceutical in the middle and in blue, there is thus also no similarity there. As such, Appellee did not infringe on AppellantÕs artistic work, and this part of the appeal was rejected.