Bavaria remains Bavaria: Dutch brewer prevails in ECJ and Italy
Recently both the European Court of Justice and the Italian
court decided in favour of the Dutch brewery Bavaria in a
longlasting battle over the trademark BAVARIA.
On December 22, 2010, the European Court of Justice answered questions from the German Bundesgerichtshof. There is the question of whether the mark BAVARIA may be used in connection with the regulation on geographical indications. The Bavarian brewers' association (Bayerischer Brauerbund) did not think so and has been fighting for years against the use of the trademark registered on the basis of a geographical regional indication registered later. The Court has determined that Bavaria has prior rights to be respected. The case will now go back to the German courts to be completed in accordance with the decision of the highest European Court.
In line with the opinion of the European Court in the beginning of March the Turin court ruled in favour of the Dutch brewer since the trademark was already registered and used earlier than the geographical regional indication. In Italy, the Bavarian brewers' association (Bayerischer Brauerbund) registered the name "Bayerisches Bier" as "protected geographical indication". "Bavaria" being the Italian name for Bavaria, the association wanted to force the Dutch brewer not to market its beer using the indication BAVARIA any longer. The association did not succeed. Thus, (also) in Italy Bavaria may continue to sell as "Bavaria Holland Beer".
The general rule from the judgements is that a 'geographical indication' can not be invoked against a trade mark that has been registered prior to the geographical indication. To us this seems the right decision, even if only in connection with legal certainty.
publicatiedatum: Saturday, March 12, 2011
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