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Of Christmas tree stands and Christmas tree trunks

As Christmas is coming closer, the “where is the Christmas stand?”-question comes up again. This little piece of engineering only used once a year is not only subject matter of several patents but has kept the Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf busy, too (docket No. I-2 U 84/03).

Who could imagine that a Christmas stand would be characterised by not less than 18 features? And who could have guessed that having just one single power transmission device would make the difference? Most probably no one (at least not outside of the Christmas season) has ever thought about Christmas tree stands and their ability to keep abnormally contoured Christmas tree trunks in such depth as the court had to do in this case.

The judgement is a good example of the problem-solution-approach when the court discussed the question of infringement by equivalent means. The patent was aimed at providing a Christmas tree stand to conveniently fix even Christmas trees with abnormally contoured tree trunks. But as the attacked embodiment failed to solve this – according to the experience of the court not uncommon – problem, they did not find for infringement.

To put it in a nutshell: Wise the man who choses their Christmas tree stand according to the normality or abnormality of their Christmas tree’s trunk. Therefore: Merry Christmas to all readers!

Dr. Markus Lenßen, LL.M. (Cantab.)
rospatt osten pross– Intellectual Property Rechtsanwälte

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