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Hard Rock Cafe wins trade mark case

Written by Michael Coyle on 18 September 2013

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The Supreme Court of Germany has found that an unauthorised restaurant operating in Heidelberg, (Germany) under the identical name and logo of Hard Rock Cafe violated the companies' well-known trademarks and is also contrary to German unfair competition law.

The case also established that Heidelberg cafe is also liable to pay damages to the Hard Rock Cafe, the amount of which will be determined.

The Supreme Court found that it was irrelevant whether the Heidelberg establishment had been selling its merchandise in Germany before the official Hard Rock Cafe Group, but what was more important was the confusion it was causing among customers, who were being duped into thinking they were buying products from the official Hard Rock Cafe — not knowing that the Heidelberg restaurant was not part of the Hard Rock Cafe Group. Furthermore, the Supreme Court has referred the case back to the first instance court in Karlsruhe to decide whether the use of the Hard Rock Cafe logo in connection with the operation of the restaurant establishment in Heidelberg also violates German unfair competition claims.

The Supreme Court has stated that, in any event, the Heidelberg restaurant need to ensure consumers realise that the Heidelberg restaurant is not part of the original Hard Rock Cafe Group.


This article was written by Deborah Ammaturo an Italian on work experience at Lawdit.

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