Oktoberfest – how a local festival became a world famous brand

It’s the end of September and normally the city of Munich would be packed with tourists from all over the world to celebrate Oktoberfest, Wiesn or, as the citizens of Munich also call it, the “fifth season”. Unfortunately, this event – which first took place in 1810 – was again called off due to covid-19. However, it is an opportunity to take a fresh look at the festival from the point of view of its trademark.

IP protection for OKTOBERFEST

The city of Munich has several trademark registrations for a wide variety of products and services, including:

  • EU mark 018317924 MÜNCHNER OKTOBERFEST (Classes 03, 04, 06, 09, 14, 16, 18, 21, 24, 25, 26, 28, 31, 34, 35, 36, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43 and 45);
  • EU mark 018317926 OKTOBERFEST MÜNCHEN (Classes 03, 04, 06, 09, 14, 16, 18, 21, 24, 25, 26, 28, 31, 34, 35, 36, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43 and 45);
  • EU mark 014912802 WIESN (Classes 03, 09, 38, 39, 40 and 42);
  • EU mark 018317922 WIESN (Classes 03, 04, 06, 09, 14, 16, 18, 21, 24, 25, 26, 28, 31, 34, 35, 36, 38, 39, 41, 43 and 45 ); and
  • EU Mark 018321414 WIESN (Classes 03, 04, 06, 09, 14, 16, 18, 21, 24, 25, 26, 28, 31, 34, 35, 36, 38, 39, 40, 42, 43 and 45); and
  • EU Mark 012898979 OIDE WIESN (Classes 03, 04, 06, 09, 14, 16, 18, 21, 24, 25, 26, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43 and 45).

For those who do not know the expression “Oide Wiesn” (“old WiesnThis event was first held in 2010 to mark the 200th anniversary of Oktoberfest with old-fashioned rides and a traditional puppet theater. Due to its success, it has become a permanent event.

More recently, another trade mark application in the name of Landeshauptstadt Munich has been registered with EUIPO, namely EU mark 015535008 for OKTOBERFEST. At the end of a one-year procedure, not only because of a first refusal raised by the examiner but also because of numerous observations from third parties, the board of appeal (appeal R 1840 / 2019-4) finally rendered its decision on the matter, ruling that the mark should be considered descriptive for the products and services linked to festivals. However, no objections of a descriptive nature apply to products and services that fall under the notion of souvenir and merchandising articles. Thus, the mark was registered on August 31, 2021 for various goods and services in classes 3, 4, 6, 9, 14, 16, 18, 21, 24, 25, 26, 28, 31, 34, 35, 36, 38, 39, 40, 42, 43 and 45 but not classes 29, 30, 32, 33 and 41.

The alternative to Oktoberfest – the WirtshausWiesn

When the Oktoberfest was canceled last year, the Münchner Innenstadtwirte eV (an association of tavern owners in downtown Munich) came up with an alternative event, the so-called ‘WirtshausWiesn‘. The members of the organized association Wiesn-like events in their taverns or wirtshäuser, including traditional music, during the time that Wiesn was supposed to have taken place.

The German Patent and Trademark Office rejected a corresponding word mark application on the grounds that it was descriptive and devoid of distinctive character. However, the request was registered on August 20, 2020 under number (30 2020 016 297) for services in classes 35, 41 and 43, including – of course – entertainment and catering services.

Oktoberfest happening in Dubai

Earlier this year, there were reports that an Oktoberfest would be held in Dubai using slogans such as “Oktoberfest goes Dubai”. The city of Munich has filed a preliminary injunction request with the Munich Regional Court against the organizers of this event, on the basis of the legal provisions set out in the German Unfair Competition Act.

By its decision of June 25, 2021 (17 HKO 7040/21), the court prohibited event organizers from giving the impression that the Munich Oktoberfest would move to Dubai in 2021. It confirmed that the use of the slogan “Oktoberfest goes Dubai” is not only to be considered as misleading within the meaning of the law, but also as an unfair exploitation of reputation.

Munich beer and Münchner Weißwurst

Finally, it’s worth stopping to think Munich beer (Munich beer) – for which Oktoberfest is particularly famous – is a Protected Geographical Indication (PGI). It is registered under the file number PGI-DE-0516 with a priority date of July 18, 1998.

The term OKTOBERFEST-BIER itself is also registered in the name of Verein Münchener Brauereien eV (Munich Brewery Association) as a word mark in Germany and in the European Union, and as an international registration with several designations.

Another typical Bavarian dish is the so-called Münchner Weißwurst (white sausage), although it is not protected as a PGI. The German Patent and Trademark Office granted an application for PGI status filed in 2004 by an association of local producers in Munich – however, several competitors have appealed against this decision. The Federal Patent Court ruled in 2009 (case 30 W (pat) 22/06) that the term “Münchner Weißwurst” does not meet the requirements of an IGP. So a weisswurst can be produced in other parts of Germany and cannot contain veal, unlike the original version.


Source link

Comments are closed.