ECJ clears Dutch brewer over use of Bavaria name

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has cleared Dutch brewer Bavaria to continue to produce and market ‘Bavaria’ beer following complaints from brewers from the German region that their beer is geographically protected.

Bavaria Beer

The Dutch brewers have been in an eight-year trade mark dispute with Bayerischer Brauerbund, a German association of Bavarian brewers over the use of the German region’s name for the brand.

The ECJ ruled because the Dutch brand has been using the name since 1925, and under trade mark protection since 1947, it pre-dated the geographical protection granted to Bayerisches Bier, or “Bavarian Beer”, and therefore cannot be used to stop the Dutch brewers’ use of the Bavaria name.

Geographical protection means that if a product is manufactured in any given region, the producer has the automatic right to use the name of that region in brand names.

There have been several geographical disputes between producers after the EU awarded protection to many regional food and drink products in 2001,

The case was referred to the ECJ following a ruling in favour of the German brewers, which Bavaria NV subsequently appealed. The case will now be referred back to the national courts.

Kirsten Gilbert, a solicitor at intellectual property firm Marks & Clerk Solicitors, says: “Today’s decision demonstrates that the strong protection for geographical terms cannot necessarily be used to cancel out earlier rights that brand owners have legitimately and successfully sought to protect.”

Latest from Marketing Week

NOT REGISTERED? IT'S FREE, QUICK AND EASY!

Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now

THE BEST CONTENT

Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.

THE BIGGEST ISSUES

From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.

PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email customerservices@marketingweek.com

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here