In a judgement of April 2018, the Regional Court of Hamburg has ruled on the use of original advertising material by non-authorized dealers and on how trademark law can bypass copyright law (308 O 231/16). The plaintiff manufactures saddle bags and other high quality cycling accessories. The defendant is an online retailer with numerous online…

EU Design law denies protection to designs which are solely dictated by a product’s technical function (art. 8(1) CDR). But how to determine if a product’s appearance is solely defined by its technical function in order to deny protection to a design? German courts, for instance used to apply the “multiplicity of forms” test, where…

In Germany, an opposition against a German trade mark can be based not only on a trade mark but also on a company name or trade name. In brief, under German law, a company name is the official name or designation of a trader or an undertaking including a catch word, for example “Mc Donald’s…

In yet another decision, the German Federal Supreme Court (BGH) has ruled on whether an injunction also obliged an infringer to take active steps to stop the distribution of infringing products through resellers (decision of the BGH of 11 October 2017 in Case I ZB 96/16). The case follows a series of earlier decisions by…

The German Football Association (DFB) owns the international mark “Deutscher Fussball-Bund” (with device) with basic registration in Germany (see image below), claiming protection for a wide variety of merchandise. The registration was notified to the Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property in April 2014. The Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property refused to protect the…

Combining trademarks with further elements or sub-brands is quite popular. A recent decision of the German Federal Supreme reminds once more what to watch out for if you do not want to lose your trademark rights (decision of 11 May 2017 in Case I ZB 6/16). The owner of the German word mark registration for…

The Regional High Court of Frankfurt rendered an interim injunction on appeal, which may have a great impact on the question if and to which extent the owner of an earlier trade mark can take action against the use of a colliding trade name or company name in Germany (judgment of 1 June 2017, 6…

Where the marks differ in only a single additional letter at the end of one of the marks, can the resulting similarity be “neutralized” by the conceptual differences? The German Federal Patent Court decided on 19 June 2017 that the opposing mark “Combit” and the attacked mark  were overall dissimilar and that, even if there…

Germany is a key venue for international trade fairs. So it is no surprise that trade fairs are tempting targets for counterfeiters and infringers. Right owners must rely on quick and effective relief if they want to avoid an impairment of their rights. However, they should be aware of the peculiarities of German law in…