PI-Design AG (AKA Bodum) have recently filed a shape trademark application for their Chambord coffee plunger. This coffee plunger was the subject of litigation in the Federal Court of Australia in 2010.
In 2010, Bodum took action against DKSH Australia Pty Ltd alleging passing off and ‘misleading or deceptive conduct’ under section 52 and 53 of the Trade Practices Act. In the full Federal Court decision, Bodum were ultimately successful as reported here.
At the time (2010), Bodum could only rely on the common law tort of passing off and the Trade Practices Act (now known as the Australian Consumer Law). The reason for this is that they did not have any existing Australian design registrations or trademark registrations in respect of the shape of the product.
Bodum have recently filed a shape trademark and, if registered, should provide them with an extra string to their bow in taking action against ‘similar’ coffee plungers.
The details of the application are provided here. From the Full Federal court decision, it appears that Bodum have been using this design since 1958 (and since at least 1986 in Australia) so they may be able to obtain registration for the trademark with evidence of use (if required). The application should be examined within the next six months.
The shape trademark is reproduced below: