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Intellectual Property

Industrial property

The protection of industrial property is a cornerstone of the success and longevity of the Opinel company. In 1909, Joseph Opinel who created the famous pocket knife in 1890, registered the Opinel and Crowned Hand trademark. Since then, with the appointment of Maurice Opinel at the head of the company, the industrial protection approach intensified. He ensured every single trademark, model and patent was systematically registered in France and abroad. At the same time, thanks to the watchful eye of all Opinel’s partners (customers, distributors, suppliers, consumers, customs...), copies and counterfeits throughout the world are better detected. To enforce its rights and win its cases, the Opinel company is advised and represented by lawyers specialising in industrial property. Today, Opinel’s investment into the protection of industrial property matches up to its ambition.

The genuine OPINEL oral trademark, the crowned hand drawing and the knife shape are registred trademarks. Any modification of any type whatsoever of OPINEL knives e.g. by stamping, carving or customizing is strictly forbidden. However engraving on the blade (and never on the handle) is tolerated only if it reads a first name, a last name or a date. Tolerates engraving is only for single unit sale.

Among the cases recently reported and resolved in a positive way for the brand, here are two examples in Europe:

Italian case: Italian customs had intercepted a container transporting 2,652 dubious pocket knives from China. The knives had been sealed for two years pending a court decision. In its ruling dated 18th July 2013, the Court of Trieste agreed these were Opinel counterfeits and ordered their destruction. The importer was convicted and received a suspended prison sentence of five months and 10 days and a fine of €18,000.

Spanish case: Opinel sued a French retailer and his Spanish supplier for breach of copyright and unfair competition for the marketing of knives imitating a range of Opinel products. By Memorandum of Understanding, the trader and supplier have committed to stop manufacturing and marketing the knives and have paid Opinel damages in the sum of €6,500 for the 417 knives sold in France in 2008 and 2012 and reimbursed the expense of seizing the counterfeited goods and the lawyers’ fees.