Ask the BGH: key litigation decisions


In an important trademark decision, the Federal Court of Justice held that the use of a well-known company logo in a car garage’s advertisements may take unfair advantage of or be detrimental to the advertising function of the mark.

No repair with logo

In this decision the Bundesgerichtshof (BGH) acknowledged, in accordance with the practice of the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU), that, besides the main function of a trademark, ie, to guarantee the origin of a product, there are further protected functions of a trademark, in particular the quality, communication, investment and advertising functions.

The defendant operated several hundred car garages and offered car inspection services in conjunction with the plaintiff’s well-known company logo. The BGH argued that it would have been sufficient to use the plaintiff’s word mark Volkswagen to advertise the inspection services but it did not need to use the company logo. This is an important judgment regarding the use of an original manufacturer’s trademarks in reseller advertisements, etc.

BGH, Automotive, logo, advertising, well-known marks, Joop!, packaging