The name of the castle of Ludwig II of Bavaria,
Neuschwanstein, was filed as a European trade mark by the Free
State of Bavaria in many classes of goods and services (3, 8,
14-16, 18, 21, 25, 28, 30, 32-6, 38 and 44). As its validity
was contested, the question arose as to whether such a name was
descriptive of the geographical origin of the goods and
services claimed in the application.
In a judgment dated September 6 2018 (C-488/16), the CJEU
confirmed that this trade mark was not an indication of the
geographical origin since this place was not that of the
production of the goods or the provision of the services it
The Court stated that the fact that the products concerned,
namely products for everyday consumption, were linked to
keepsakes because of the affixing of the name of the castle,
did not make that name an essential and descriptive
characteristic of those products.
Moreover, the fact that these products and services were
offered in a given place, in this case NEUSCHWANSTEIN Castle,
could as such mean that the name of that place designated
characteristics, qualities or particularities specific to and
linked to the geographical origin of those products and
services (crafts, tradition or climate).
NEUSCHWANSTEIN Castle is known, not for keepsakes, but for
its architectural singularity and, in fact, this place of
marketing cannot be considered as a description of an essential
quality or characteristic in the eyes of the relevant public,
knowing, moreover, that these souvenirs are also sold beyond
the surroundings of the castle.
NEUSCHWANSTEIN is thus a fancy name that allows the relevant
public, through its affixing, to distinguish the designated
goods and services from those sold or provided in other tourist
or commercial areas.
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Tel: +33 1 44 18 89 00
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