The state of Bavaria successfully defends the EU Trademark NEUSCHWANSTEIN

Since 2011, the state of Bavaria has been owner of the EU Trademark NEUSCHWANSTEIN, basically protecting merchandising articles and several services. The trademark was opposed before the EUIPO based on the reasoning that it is not distinctive and is descriptive with regard a geographic origin. The EUIPO maintained the trademark and the respective decision was appealed to the Court of First Instance. On July 5, 2016, the Court of First Instance rejected the appeal and concluded that the attacked trademark is not descriptive for the goods and services for which it is registered. Since the castle Neuschwanstein is not a place for the manufacturing of goods or for the performance of the protected services, the attacked trademark does not contain a hint to a geographic origin. Furthermore, the attacked trademark points to the source of goods and services and is consequently distinctive. Interestingly, the decision deviates from a German Federal Supreme Court decision concerning the German national trademark NEUSCHWANSTEIN. The decision of the Court of First Instance shows that EU trademarks are based on an independent system, the application of which is not dependent on any national – here the German - system.