Deception by registration symbol ® – ‘grill master’

A caterer had the idea of registering ‘grill meister’ [‘grill master’] as a brand for his barbecue and beer products, as well as for his catering. He gave his brand a simple design and as a special feature the registration symbol ®. However, the caterer was very surprised when the Federal Court of Justice certified his trade mark as not only being unable to be protected, but also deceptive.

Biased rankings through rating portals – yelp

On yelp’s rating portal, users are able to rate and review any company they wish to. However, yelp forms its overall score purely from user contributions that have been ‘recommended’ by a software program beforehand. One gym thus received a poor overall score, although 90% of the user contributions submitted were positive. It suffered losses in turnover and fought back fiercely. And rightly so?

Trade mark infringement by a webshop – Posterlounge

POSTERLOUNGE carries out a Google search for its own brand, ‘Posterlounge’. Google’s result list directs the user, among other things, to ‘Hood’, one of the largest online marketplaces that hosts auctions as well as online shopping. On ‘’, third parties are selling products that compete with those of POSTERLOUNGE. How could this have occurred and who is responsible?

Deception through Chinese luggage from Wenger with the Swiss cross

The supermarket chain, known as ‘real’, sold pieces of luggage from the well-known traditional Swiss company Wenger S.A. Like the Wenger pocket knives, the items of luggage displayed the typical Wenger cross, which is very similar to the Swiss cross. However, Wenger’s luggage was manufactured in China rather than in Switzerland, a fact that was not visible on the luggage.

Prosecution of managing directors for trade mark infringements by employees

You are a managing director in Germany and are provided with information about a business set up by one of your departments. You assume your management responsibility in relation to the project. Could you become liable to prosecution, should the business be used to commit trade mark infringement? The following copyright case is an example of the legal situation in German trade mark law.