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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
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German Federal Patent Court: “Bollywood macht glücklich!” (tr: Bollywood makes you happy!).

This Class 46 member has been reviewing some recent German trade mark cases and has so come across a nice little court order by the German Federal Patent Court concerning the registrability of the trade mark “Bollywood macht glücklich!” (in English: Bollywood makes you happy!).  


Perhaps not entirely surprisingly, the court held that the "slogan type" composite mark “Bollywood macht glücklich!” was not distinctive enough to qualify for trade mark protections for film works and TV entertainment.


The relevant consumer circles would merely understand the composite mark as a laudatory advertising statement in the sense that the goods and services offered under the mark were related to the Indian film industry and contributed to feeling a sense of happiness.  As such the composite mark was as a laudatory promotional statement and did not indicate a specific trade origin.


The court was not swayed by the claimant's contention that the mark was short, concise and ambiguous, nor did the judges agree that the stylisation of the mark rendered it distinctive.  The judges held that the fact that the mark was open to a certain degree of interpretation did not make it distinctive. Furthermore, the level of stylisation, which was similar to the usual Word type fonts Pristina, Monotype Corsiva, Blachadder, was not unusual enough to overcome the descriptive content of the word elements and create an overall distinctive impression that could denote trade origin.


Court order of 15 June 2009, case reference 27 W (pat) 36/09 – Bollywood macht glücklich!.  The court order can be retrieved by clicking here (in German).
Posted by: Birgit Clark @ 13.25
Tags: Bundespatentgericht, Germany, German trade marks, slogan,
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