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Munich's Oktoberfest is now a protected trademark

Munich's Oktoberfest is now a protected trademark

Munich's Oktoberfest is now a protected trademark

Earlier this year, the announcement that Oktoberfest was going to Dubai in 2021 ruffled more than a few feathers in Munich. Now, the EU has declared Oktoberfest a protected trademark, giving the German city more power to take action against companies “profiteering” from its reputation. 

Munich wins case to protect Oktoberfest as a trademark

After five years of consideration, the EU Intellectual Property Authority (EUIPO) has determined that the Munich Oktoberfest can become a protected trademark. The protection will initially apply until 2026. 

In its application, the Munich city administration said they wanted to prevent “Oktoberfest profiteers” from exploiting the popularity of the world-famous beer festival without the Bavarian capital benefiting from it. The term is now protected for 22 product classes, including everything from soap and credit cards to uniform rental - and, crucially, tourism advertising. 

The protection does not mean that imitation Oktoberfests will be prevented from taking place - as they do, every year, the world over - from Berlin and Brazil to Manhattan and Malaysia. But, it does mean that the city can prevent these events from advertising themselves in certain ways or monetizing certain types of products. 

Row was sparked over Dubai Oktoberfest

Munich’s issue with these copycat festivals was keenly illustrated earlier this year, when a group of businesses announced after the cancellation of the official Munich Oktoberfest that a large-scale replacement was being organised in Dubai. Incensed at the plans, Munich took the organisers to court and won. 

The judges ruled that the organisers of the Dubai event could not, among other things, advertise it with the phrase “Oktoberfest goes to Dubai” or use other associated images. They argued this on the basis that consumers were being misled into believing the event was actually being relocated to Dubai, and that organisers were thus exploiting the reputation of the Munich Oktoberfest. 

In the meantime, the Dubai Oktoberfest has actually been postponed, after cases of coronavirus began to increase in the United Arab Emirates. Although it was originally due to start on October 7, it’s now not clear exactly when the festival will take place. 

Abi

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Abi Carter

Abi studied History & German at the University of Manchester. She has since worked as a writer, editor and content marketeer, but still has a soft spot for museums, castles...

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