“Neuschwanstein” is a trademark for souvenir items which has been applied for by the Free State of Bavaria in 2011 and which is valid throughout the European Union. The “Bundesverband Souvenir – Geschenke – Ehrenpreise (BSGE) (= federal assosciation for souvenirs, presents and trophy items) had requested cancellation of the trademark. The BSGE’s arguments that “Neuschwanstein” designates a geographical origin and therefore is only descriptive, was immediately rejected by the OHIM in Alicante. A designation describing a product is generally identified as an absolute ground for refusal of protection.
The General Court of the European Union in Luxemburg has also rejected the argumentation of the BSGE (federal association for souvenirs, presents and trophy items). The General Court considers that Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria is no place of producing goods or providing services. The trademark “Neuschwanstein” therefore remains protected/valid throughout the whole European Union. However, further appeal may be brought to the European Court of Justice (ECJ). In that way it is possible that the trademark conflict/dispute can proceed to a higher instance.
Taking the above into consideration we highly recommend to consult a patent attorney before applying for a trademark, to discuss possible conflicts concerning your trademark and reach the best protection for you and your goods and/or services.
We are looking forward to all of your questions concerning trademarks either per phone or in a personal meeting.