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Now in its twelfth year, Class 46 is dedicated to European trade mark law and practice. This weblog is written by a team of enthusiasts who want to spread the word and share their thoughts with others.

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Who we all are...
Anthonia Ghalamkarizadeh
Birgit Clark
Blog Administrator
Christian Tenkhoff
Fidel Porcuna
Gino Van Roeyen
Markku Tuominen
Niamh Hall
Nikos Prentoulis
Stefan Schröter
Tomasz Rychlicki
Yvonne Onomor
Ready for a game of Boerengolf?

Never played it myself, but the game concept was claimed as having been invented and introduced as long ago as 1999 on Easter Sunday on and around the pastures of Weenink Cheese Farm in the 't Veldeken hamlet near Groenlo in the Achterhoek (well known abroad for its Grolsch beer and the band Normaal): Boerengolf!

And it's a serious game: Boerengolf - outside the Netherlands promoted as Farmersgolf, Bauerngolf and Golf ā la ferme - is protected by a number of trade mark registrations, not only in the Benelux, but in the European Union as well. And don't mess with it. The trade mark owners make it very clear - for example on the official website - that Boerengolf, Farmersgolf, Bauerngolf and Golf ā la Ferme are protected trade marks. And the Dutch version of the website contains the firm statement that boerengolf 'is illegaly copied of course under headings like agrogolf, farmgolf, countrygolf, farmersgolf, and many other names could be considered.'

Yesterday the Presiding Judge of the District Court The Hague (Mr P.G.J. de Heij) made it clear in summary proceedings commenced by the trade mark owners and licensees (De 3 B.V., Farmersgolf International B.V., Kaasboerderij Weenink V.O.F.) against Mr A.W. Grooters (trading as De Blinkvanger) that the Boerengolf trade marks should be regarded as valid trade marks, especially since the Community trade marks have been checked by OHIM, and Mr Grooters waived his objections to the registrations after the trade mark owners had argued and evidenced that the trade marks had acquiered distinctiveness through use.

The Presiding Judge established that Mr Grooters infringed the trade marks by using identical signs and similar signs (farmersgolf.eu, boerengolfadressen and boerengolfadressen.nl). With regard to the last-named signs Mr Grooters did not fight the submission by the trade mark owners that there was a risk of confusion, especially not the submission that the public might think that there is an economic link between Mr Grooters and the trade mark owners.

Furthermore the Presiding Judge leaves no room for one of the expections to which Mr Grooters tried to appeal. There was no need to use the Boerengolf signs, because there are alternatives like weidegolf, kolfgolf and klompengolf (translated: meadowgolf, cobgolf and woodenshoesgolf) and there is no fair use, because the signs used by Mr Grooters created the impression of an economic link between the business of Mr Grooters and the trade mark owners.

There was no use of a sign with purely local significance (art. 107 CTR) because Mr Grooters did not clarify which local right he had obtained. The registration of a domain name creates no such right. And furthermore it is not clarified what the relationship is between a prior local right and the prior Benelux trade mark right and the domain names of the trade mark owners.

Mr Grooters was ordered, in brief, to refrain from the use of the trade marks and to pay the attorney's costs of the trade mark owner (€ 15.720,95).

That said, I think I might go for a game of Boerengolf today. I have all the time, since as you might now it is Queens Day in the Netherlands, which gives me also an opportunity by the way to take recourse to such fine joyeous Dutch games like koekhappen (gingerbread biting) and zaklopen (bag walking). Long live the Queen!

Posted by: Gino Van Roeyen @ 07.31
Tags: Benelux trade marks, Boerengolf, community trade marks,
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MARQUES does not guarantee the accuracy of the information in this blog. The views are those of the individual contributors and do not necessarily reflect those of MARQUES. Seek professional advice before action on any information included here.

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