BGH: Hard Rock Cafe Trade­mar­k­Law

Fede­ral Court of Jus­ti­ce deci­des in the dis­pu­te bet­ween the glo­bal­ly acti­ve Hard Rock Group and the “Hard Rock Cafe Hei­del­berg

(Source: Press release of the BGH No. 136/2013)

The “Hard Rock Cafe Hei­del­berg” may con­ti­nue to ope­ra­te under this name, but no items mark­ed with the inter­na­tio­nal­ly known “Hard Rock Cafe” logo may be sold the­re any lon­ger. This was deci­ded by the First Civil Sena­te of the Ger­man Fede­ral Court of Jus­ti­ce, which is respon­si­ble for com­pe­ti­ti­on and trade­mark law, in its ruling of August 15, 2013 — I ZR 188/11 — Hard Rock Café.

The first plain­ti­ff, which belongs to the glo­bal­ly acti­ve Hard Rock Group, ope­ra­tes Hard Rock Cafés in Ber­lin, Munich and Colo­gne. The second plain­ti­ff is the owner of num­e­rous word and word/figurative marks “Hard Rock Cafe”. The first defen­dant, who­se mana­ging direc­tor is the third defen­dant, ope­ra­tes a restau­rant under the name “Hard Rock Cafe Hei­del­berg”. When it came to fur­nis­hing and deco­ra­ting the restau­rant, its foun­ders had deli­bera­te­ly taken their cue from the “Hard Rock Cafe” that ope­ned in Lon­don in 1971. At least sin­ce 1978, the 1st defen­dant has been using the typi­cal cir­cu­lar hard rock logo of the 2nd plain­ti­ff in food and drink menus and on glas­ses. It uses the phra­se “Hard Rock Cafe” and the logo as an ent­rance sign, on the front door and in the win­dows of its restau­rant, and offers mer­chan­di­se that also bears that logo. The plain­ti­ffs first regis­tered their logo as a trade­mark for clot­hing in Ger­ma­ny in late 1986; their first Ger­man hard rock café ope­ned in Ber­lin in 1992. Imme­dia­te­ly the­re­af­ter, the plain­ti­ffs obtai­ned a tem­po­ra­ry res­trai­ning order against the defen­dant, but with­drew the appli­ca­ti­on for its issu­an­ce after the defen­dant objec­ted.

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