Gardena hose system
The ability to protect a design often depends on the demarcation of technical and aesthetic product features
Technically conditioned features of a product are not available for design protection. Patent protection is provided for this purpose in so far as the features are novel and inventive. However, the exclusion of design protection applies only if the specific product design is predetermined exclusively by technical requirements and no scope for an aesthetic design remains.
According to a decision of the Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf, aesthetic design features are present in Gardena's water hose connector system (see GRUR 1990, 207). "[...] The possibilities are many to design the surface of actuating ring and nut so that they give support to the fingers in the operation of the hose piece, namely, on the one hand its attachment to the hose end and on the other hand, the coupling of the hose provided with the hose piece. In addition to a finer or coarser corrugation in direction transverse or longitudinal to the hose, also coming into consideration are recessed grips in closer or wider distance, which participate in the claim, and which have somewhat different rounded, oblong shape, the entire length of the actuating ring or only part thereof. Also, the stated features of the surface design of the actuating ring and nut can be combined very differently. [...]