It is reported that the city of Munich (Landeshauptstadt München) is seeking to protect the well-known term “Oktoberfest” as a European Union Trade Mark (EUTM) for a variety of goods and services, including those in Classes 32, 33, 41 and 43, namely alcoholic beverages, the organisation of beer festivals and restaurant/hotel services.

They may struggle to succeed.

First, it is likely to be rejected as non-distinctive and/or descriptive in respect of festivals held in October. Second, given that the majority of the festival actually takes place in September, the term could also be viewed as deceptive. Finally, there are already innumerable variations on the Oktoberfest theme around the EU. In the UK, in addition to Oktoberfest drinking establishments, there are even UK TM rights for the Hampshire Octoberfest and for the Oktoberfest Cornwall. Indeed, an earlier EU TM application (No. 12958161) filed by the city of Munich for an Oktoberfest Logo was successfully opposed by a Romanian company (FCRB Imprex Srl) on the basis of its earlier registered rights in the mark Oktoberfest Pub, a drinking hole that can be found in Bucharest.

So, on balance, there is probably more chance of finding a sober person in Munich during late September and early October, than of the Oktoberfest EU TM proceeding to grant.

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Ward Trade Marks  Limited is a Bury St Edmunds based specialist trade mark attorney firm.