On 20 October 2015, Alexander von Mühlendahl celebrated the completion of 7.5 decades of life. What could be more appropriate than to dedicate the launch of the new Kluwer Trademark blog to him and his important contribution to the development of European trademark law!
Of course this is but a drop in the ocean of recognition of Alexander von Mühlendahl’s life achievements in the world of trademarks. A full-blown Festschrift would be more appropriate – but then, he already received one upon his retirement from his eleven-year tenure as Vice President of OHIM (see here).
Alexander was also one of the first 23 inductees into the IP Hall of Fame, named in February 2006, alongside Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Victor Hugo, Thomas Alva Edison, Frank Schechter and Sir Robin Jacob (see here). This is more than justified. There is no other person that has dedicated as much time and effort, understanding, patience and diplomacy, to the development and understanding of trademark law in Europe and beyond as Alexander von Mühlendahl. Having been involved in the creation of a truly European trademark law already in the 1970’s when he was at the Max Planck Institut in Munich, he later led the German delegation during the negotiations leading up to the adoption of the legislation on the Community Trademark system and the Harmonization Directive, as head of the division for Trademarks and Unfair Competition Law at the German Ministry of Justice from 1985 to 1994.
In 1994, he became OHIM’s first Vice President and, as such, was one of the first people on the ground in Alicante, building OHIM from scratch. Rumour goes that he had to buy OHIM‘s first pencils! As OHIM‘s Vice President until 2005, Alexander shaped its practice, discussing and consensuating solutions to legal issues in many key areas where even those that were around at the time may have forgotten that the solutions found were often far from obvious.
75 years – this is hard to believe when you know Alexander von Mühlendahl and his busy agenda. Not only does he continue to tirelessly travel the world as one of the world’s most sought-after and distinguished speakers on topics of trademark law and IP law in general, he also regularly represents clients before the courts in Luxembourg and advises on high-profile trademark disputes in Germany as a partner of the law firm Bardehle Pagenberg, which he joined in 2005. WTR 1000 very appropriately called him a „trademark doyen“ (here).
The co-editors of this new blog, Verena von Bomhard and Gregor Vos, together with our wonderful team of contributors from around Europe with whom we have the pleasure to start this venture, wish Alexander von Mühlendahl all the very best and, who knows, maybe we can prompt him to write an occasional guest blog for us!