September 2017. On 12 September, the District Court in The Hague ordered chipped potato manufacturer McCain to remove its Rustic Twist fries from all retail outlets because they infringed the design rights of rival producer Simplot.


Simplot had already registered the shape of its own Sidewinders fries as a European design. According to the Court, McCain’s Rustic Twist makes the same overall impression on chip-eaters as the Sidewinder, thereby infringing the latter’s design rights. Verdict: McCain must take its product off the shelves within 48 hours and pay Simplot 15,000 euros in legal costs.

The shape of the chip is protected as a design in 28 European countries


The ruling illustrates the immense value of registering design rights. Moreover, the threshold for protection is low: if the design is new and has an individual character, protection will be granted. You can therefore obtain a firm monopoly throughout the EU, even for the humble French fry.

Bas Kist