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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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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
TUESDAY, 19 MAY 2009
The Knut polar bear saga continues

It has been a while since we last reported on Knut, the polar bear. Regular Class 46 readers will recall Knut's rise to global fame and the various trade mark issues surrounding the marketing of Knut and other high profile (polar) bears. To refresh your memory, please click here.

The latest polar bear news from Germany concern a court battle over Knut which again serves to illustrate the financial worth of polar bear brands (and which also gives you an interesting insight into the German psyche). In the latest installment of the Knut saga Berlin zoo and Neumünster zoo tried to agree on the sale of the star polar bear from Neumünster zoo to Berlin zoo. The zoos disagreed over the price and took the whole matter to the Berlin Regional court. We have previously reported that Neumünster zoo had sued Berlin zoo for a share of the royalties earned through licensing the "Knut polar bear brand" (see Class 46 post here). Knut's father, polar bear Lars is owned by the Neumünster zoo and both zoos appear to have an agreement which grants Neumünster zoo a certain share of the Knut profits.

According to German media reports of today's date, it has now transpired that Knut himself is owned by Neumünster zoo, despite having been born at Berlin zoo. Neumünster zoo is not prepared to sell Knut for less than 700,000 Euro, while Berlin Zoo only intends to pay 350,000 Euro ("and not a cent a more"). It should be mentioned that Berlin zoo is owned by the city of Berlin which is known for being notoriously strapped for cash. The court proceedings appear to be a real media spectacle with Knut supporters in the audience and Peter Drüwa, the Neumünster zoo director, even wearing a polar bear trade mark tie. Not surprisingly, the parties failed to reach a settlement agreement in court today. If the two zoos have not agreed on a sale price by 13 July 2009, the Berlin Regional court will hand down its own decision on 1 September 2009. The presiding judge, Philip Hegermann, has already indicated that the case will most likely be decided in favour of the Berlin zoo.

It is not quite clear from the various reports just why the bear now has to be sold or whether this dispute is really (still) about royalties and revenues stemming from trade mark licensing and merchandising. Class 46 will monitor the situation and update its readers. As predicted previously, these polar bears just do not go away...

Posted by: Birgit Clark @ 18.19
Tags: German trade marks, Germany, knut, Polar cubs,
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