There may be a number reasons for mentioning a third party’s trade mark in your own advertising. But be careful that such advertising cannot be mistaken for that of the trade mark owner. It is also important not to mislead people about the nature of your business relationship with the trade mark owner. It is helpful to know how damages are quantified in such cases.
Uniqueness and memorability are the benchmark for environmental slogans. It is not easy to achieve this, but when the environmental slogan works, it communicates in a way that is hard to beat. And if it can do so exclusively, it becomes part of that brand. Stadtwerke Berlin [Municipal Utilities Berlin] believed it was home and dry with its slogan. And rightly so?
There are 2,054 folk festivals in the world called OKTOBERFEST. The oldest, largest and most famous is, of course, the Oktoberfest in Munich. So it is understandable that the city wanted to trade-mark the name of its own festival within the European Union. However, many other organisers have seen this as a threat to the identical names of their own festivals, leading them to fight the registration of the trade mark for Munich. Have they been successful?
Developing a protectable lifestyle brand is not easy. On the one hand, it should convey a clear message that benefits the company. On the other hand, it should be able to be protected as a trade mark. In practice, it is a balancing act! The case below provides some guidance.
A cultural institution may try to position its unique structure as a cultural brand within the framework of cultural marketing. Strong cultural brands attract a lot of attention and engender particularly positive images. Customers, business partners and sponsors can form a quick connection with such brands and images. Is it possible to harness the power of cultural brands for the benefit of a variety of businesses?
Allusive marks are popular. They already contain references to the relevant products and their characteristics. Brand developers therefore like to try to ‘make up’ such marks from descriptive terms. But can this lead to problems? Other companies could always build their brands from the same basic words.
Websites often contain company advertisements and offers that are visible in a number of countries. But what happens if a name is used to advertise a product to which third parties in other Member States of the European Union have superior rights? Could this result in a trademark infringement in the foreign country and lead to legal action in that country? The Court of Justice of the European Union has recently published valuable advice in this respect.
Everyone knows Emmentaler – the famous, delicious cheese with the cherry-sized holes and the nutty taste. It was even around in the Middle Ages! Could its name ‘Emmentaler’ be protected as a collective trademark for the members of an association?
Consumers should be able to tell immediately whether the food they are eating is genetically modified. The German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture has therefore developed a dedicated GMO-free label, intended to identify the products bearing it as GMO-free. In the meantime, every fifth litre of milk from Bavaria is labelled as being ‘without genetic engineering’. But is the seal, as a trademark, protectable or not? Could it potentially deceive the consumer?
Signs that use the term ‘gourmet’ are very popular in relation to food products, not least because they indicate a higher-quality item. However, as an EU trademark, these signs have already been refused 50 times – because they are classed as advertising material only. They praise one’s own products, but they do not indicate the product’s origin as coming from a specific company.