TAE warns: Judgement over the trademark rights to a small bread roll could have dire implications for the European economy
Brussels. The Taxpayer Association of Europe (TAE) has been following the case C 409/12 for some time. Behind this figure hides a trademark case that can have a negative impact on the entire European economy. The Austrian company Backaldrin strives to preserve the trademark rights to its product "Kornspitz" in this case. The current ruling confirmed the concerns of TAE. The judges disagreed with the case law in Austria and Germany as well as with the position of the European Commission and France, in which the understanding of the intermediaries and retailers of a brand is also crucial for the preservation of the trademark protection for a product.
In the preliminary ruling procedure the European Court of Justice (ECJ) noted that solely the perception of consumers is determinative for the preservation of the trademark. "If the national courts in Austria, where the case is now on trial, follow the position of the European Court of Justice, the trademark rights of countless European companies are at risk," Taxpayers President Rolf von Hohenhau warns. "In the worst case, trademarks claims could no longer be asserted against other companies or retailers" said Hohenhau. In many cases it is simply impossible to influence the perception of consumers, especially for small businesses.
The protection of brands and ideas is the basis for successful entrepreneurial activities. Rolf von Hohenhau: "Our European businesses need to be confident that their trademarks and that their ideas and innovations are legally protected." The rules must be clear and understandable and should not depend on the "random perception" of end users.
"Now the legislature is in demand to clarify the situation and set clear standards for trademark protection," concluded Hohenhau.