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Trademark law: not all pigs are created equal


Regional designations of origin for food can also be protected under German trademark law. The Federal Court of Justice decided that using the example of "Hohenloher Landschwein" and "Graiderind".

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A pig on an organic farm (archive picture): origin makes a difference

Photo: Mohssen Assanimoghaddam / dpa

Origin obligated - at least for pigs and cattle: regional designations of origin for food can be protected under German trademark law. The Federal Court of Justice (BGH) in Karlsruhe decided on the example of the "Hohenloher Landschwein" and the "Hohenloher Weiderinds". The first civil senate rejected revisions, including a butcher's shop, against a ruling by the Stuttgart Higher Regional Court, thereby agreeing with the Schwäbisch Hall Farmers 'Producers' Association.

They registered the designations as so-called collective brands and forbade the butcher's shop to use the terms because they did not comply with the producers' guidelines.

This involves specifications, for example, on keeping, feeding, transport and slaughter.

The producer group demanded injunctive relief and compensation.

According to their lawyer Ulrich Hildebrandt, the BGH decision is important for thousands of so-called collective brands.

The background to the conflict are different requirements in the EU and in Germany.

According to the German trademark law, goods can be protected as collective trademarks, which can be distinguished from products of other companies, for example because of their geographical origin.

European law, on the other hand, knows so-called protected geographical indications (PGI) with their own criteria.

The lawyer for the defendant butcher's shop had argued that a producers' association could not simply register a collective mark under German law if it did not obtain an entry as a geographically protected indication under European law.

"Anyone who does not meet the requirements for registration as a European specification may not obtain a› protection light ‹at national level through the back door," was the argument of lawyer Benjamin Stillner before the BGH decision.

The BGH could also have submitted an inquiry to the European Court of Justice on the subject.

Why the judges decided differently remained open at first.

A detailed version of the resolution will not be published until later.

File number: including I ZR 163/19

mic / dpa-afx

Source: spiegel

All business articles on 2021-07-29

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