EU trade mark “NEUSCHWANSTEIN” not descriptive and not registered in bad faith

Print this page 19-09-2018
IPPT20180906, CJEU, Souvenir – Geschenke – Ehrenpreise eV v EUIPO

Designation ‘Neuschwanstein’ from EU word mark “NEUSCHWANSTEIN” not descriptive for quality or essential characteristic  goods and services: ‘souvenir items’ not mentioned in Nice classification, goods covered by contested trade mark are everyday consumer goods and everyday services,  souvenir function is not an objective characteristic inherent to the nature of a product, the fact that the concerned items constitute  souvenirs through the mere affixing of the name “Neuschwanstein” is not, in itself, an essential descriptive characteristic of those goods. Designation “Neuschwanstein” not descriptive for place of origin goods and services: the castle of Neuschwanstein is not famous because of souvenir items or offered services, not apparent from the case file that the contested trade mark is used to market specific souvenir products and to offer particular services for which it would be traditionally known, not all services covered by the contested trade mark are directly offered at the website of the castle, therefore it is not reasonable to conclude that, in the mind of the relevant public, the place of marketing to which the name ‘Neuschwanstein’ relates is, as such, a description of a quality or an essential characteristic of the goods and services covered by the contested trade mark. General Court gave sufficient reasons to the requisite legal standard in regard to the existence of distinctive character of the contested trade mark by stating that mere affixing of that mark on the goods and services concerned enables the relevant public to distinguish them from those sold or provided in other commercial or tourist areas. It is not apparent from the Lindt & Sprüngli-judgment (IPPT20090611) that the assessment of bad faith must necessarily take the means used to achieve a legitimate objective into account.

 

TRADE MARK LAW

 

Appeal against a judgement of the General Court of Justice EU from 5 July 2016. Freistate Bayern filed an application for registration of an mark “NEUSCHWANSTEIN” as EU trade mark for serval classes. The trade mark was granted. Souvenir – Geschenke – Ehrenpreise eV filed an application for a declaration of invalidity of the trade mark, but the EUIPO rejected this application in all instances. The General Court rejected the appeal in its entirety. The General Court dismissed the appeal in its entirety, considering, inter alia, that the mark was not a descriptive indication of the goods and services concerned, since the Neuschwanstein Castle is primarily a museum site and no place where goods are manufactured or services be performed. Consequently, the mark at issue can not be indicative of the place of origin of goods or services designated by it. Besides that, the General Court ruled that the the mark did not lack distinctive character and that that the registration of the contested trade mark had not been made in bad faith. The appeal is dismissed.

 

The Court of Justice EU concludes that the name “Neuschwanstein” is not descriptive for the quality or essential characteristic goods and services. Furthermore the Court concludes that the name is not descriptive for the place of origin of the concerned goods and services. The General Court gave sufficient reasons to the requisite legal standard in regard to the existence of distinctive character of the contested trade mark by stating that mere affixing of that mark on the goods and services concerned enables the relevant public to distinguish them from those sold or provided in other commercial or tourist areas

 

IPPT20180906, CJEU, Souvenir – Geschenke – Ehrenpreise eV v EUIPO

 

C-488/16 P - ECLI:EU:C:2018:673