Hauck versus Stokke: shape mark Stokke null and void

6 February 2019

In the long battle between children’s chair manufacturers Hauck (represented by Gregor Vos and Sjo Anne Hoogcarspel of Brinkhof) and Stokke, the Amsterdam Court of Appeal ruled in favour of Hauck on 5 February 2019. The Dutch judgment can be consulted here.

Norwegian manufacturer Stokke found that Hauck had infringed the shape mark for the Tripp Trapp high chair and initiated proceedings to have Hauck’s high chair┬ábanned. On the other hand, Hauck found that the shape mark invoked was invalid, partly because of the functionality of the chair.

After the case was referred to the Supreme Court by the Court of Appeal of The Hague, the Supreme Court referred preliminary questions of interpretation of European Union law to the Court of Justice of the European Union. After this highest European judge had answered the questions, the Supreme Court set aside the judgment of the Court of Appeal of The Hague and referred the case to the Court of Appeal of Amsterdam. By applying the interpretation of the European Court of Justice, the Court of Appeal ultimately considered Stokke’s shape mark to be null and void and thereby rejected Stokke’s claims.