"Neuschwanstein" is not a trademark!

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The German Federal Patent Court (Bundespatentgericht - BPatG) has confirmed the cancellation of the trademark „Neuschwanstein“.

The trademark “Neuschwanstein” had been registered for a wide range of goods and services but after a cancellation request because of its lack of distinctiveness according to § 8 II No. 1 German Trademark Act (GTA), the German Patent and Trademark Office (GPTO) had cancelled it. Upon the appeal the German Federal Patent Court had confirmed the missing distinctiveness for the following reasons:

The expression “Neuschwanstein” is the name of the world famous castle and tourist attraction in Bavaria, that was originally built for King Ludwig I and that has reached an outstanding cultural and historical importance and recognition.

With regard to tourist services , tour-operator services as well as catering and accommodation services the trademark protection for the expression “Neuschwanstein” is excluded because it is suitable to describe the characteristics of the services, such as a.e. the destination.

With regard to goods that are generally offered near tourist locations such as souvenirs or food and beverages to cover their needs - according to the German Federal Patent Court there is also a lack of distinctiveness according to § 8 II No. 1 GTA. In general, denominations of places and buildings that belong to the cultural heritage of a country are common knowledge and are therefore barred from a monopolization and commercialization through the registration via a trademark.

(Decision of German Federal Patent Court in Case No.: 25 W(pat)182/09 on 8 February 2011)