• Marketing with Misleading Regional Information Is Prohibited - Trademark-Law
  • September 2, 2013 | Author: Michael Rainer
  • Law Firm: GRP Rainer LLP - Hamburg Office
  • The marketing of dairy products whose name contains misleading information about places and regions of origin is not allowed, since it conjures up wrong connotations among consumers.

    GRP Rainer Lawyers and Tax Advisors in Cologne, Berlin, Bonn, Bremen, Dusseldorf, Essen, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Hanover, Munich, Nuremberg, Stuttgart and London ¿ www.grprainer.com/en conclude: This is how the Superior Court of Stuttgart is said to have ruled recently (File No. 2 U 157/12). To market its dairy products, a dairy company was said to have used the name of a region although the milk was not processed in that area at all. The court called that behaviour misleading for consumers, who would be forming an incorrect notion about the origin of the milk. If the name of a certain region appears on a food product, especially on an agricultural product, consumers can assume that the products have a direct connection with that region. The court said that the effect on consumers was even more deceiving because the term “fresh milk” was used. It found that with such a constellation, it would not be far-fetched to assume that customers believe the article to be produced in the named region.

    The dairy argued that in its opinion it was not deceiving customers, that it was stating the origin of the milk and the place where the packages were filled, thus removing any misleading character. The court held that such additional information is indeed able to prevent a wrong notion, but that it must be clearly visible and understandable for consumers. In the opinion of the judges, the information on the milk package was insufficient to avoid deception.

    In its justification, the Court also referred to the relevance of the deception and gave several reasons why the origin of the milk could be meaningful for consumers. When customers purchase food, they have several different reasons for deciding on a certain product, such as supporting farmers in specific regions or the sustainability of production. All that was said to be a factor why the region from which a product comes can be decisive for consumers.

    The Trademark-Law is very multi-faceted and can often involve several areas of the law. It is therefore advisable in such cases to employ a lawyer. He can help you from registering a brand name to reviewing potential violations to asserting possible claims under trade mark violations.