The higher regional court of Munich (judgment from the 02.07.2012 U K 4842/08) discussed the protection of trademarks within the scope of so-called selective distribution systems. In the case at hand, a well-known brand wanted to protect its image from unwanted Internet sales.
GRP Rainer Lawyers Tax Advisors, Cologne, Berlin, Bonn, Düsseldorf, Hamburg, Munich, Stuttgart, Frankfurt www.grprainer.com explain: An enterprise for sporting goods considered a ban on “selective distribution systems”. The new e-commerce rules for this enterprise will be applied throughout Europe in 2013, at the latest.
The enterprise wants to thereby prohibit the appointed dealers from offering their products on on-line market platforms. A wide variety of used goods are being offered on these platforms and private sellers can also sell their products through these systems. Individual brand shops basically do not exist on these platforms. This does not seem productive for the image the brand would like to embody. On-line sales will only be available through company authorized websites.
Protection of the brand should come first, especially in regards to high quality or consultation-intensive brands. There are a wide variety of strategies to protect the brand against infringements and to maintain its image by working on its presentation, as well as, strengthening the brand.
The distributors will, most likely, not be able to object to such a ban from a juridical point of view. The clauses, which the brand manufacturer uses in the contract, have to be checked in regards to the competition law, however, they seem to be unobjectionable within the competition law framework.
The higher court of Munich was of the same opinion (judgment of the 7/2/2009 – U K in 4842/08). With this ban the enterprise, as a well-known brand owner, is pursuing the legitimate interest of protecting its brand. The ban would not lead to the general elimination of on-line sales, it only denies auction platforms the right to distribute the enterprise’s products.
Consult a lawyer if you want to protect a brand through brand registration and want to know that a brand is being monitored and checked for you. An experienced lawyer can help you with the registration process.
A lawyer can advise you during the brand registration on how to administer registered trademarks and monitor these against infringements.