Log in


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.

Want to receive Class 46 by email?
Click here subscribe for free.

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
Free speech : trade mark rights 6:0





An interesting case has been decided by the Civil Court of Basel, Switzerland, November last year (but only been published just now).

Critics of "big tobacco" had put up a satirical website mocking the sponsorship of the Swiss Indoors tennis tournament by Davidoff, pointing out that sport and smoking don't mix well  ("using tennis to sell death"). The URL for the website is davideathswissindoors.ch. The logo "Davideath Swiss Indoors" is a clear riff on the official Davidoff Swiss Indoors logo (both pictured above).

Unsurprisingly, Davidoff took offense and sought to obtain a preliminary injunction against further distribution of the disparaging material. And lost.

The court basically argued that the constitutional right to free speech extended to satirical, critical and offensive speech. Unfair competition law could not be used to enjoin criticism, even biting criticism, of (perceived) unethical practices by a trade mark owner (trade mark law did not apply because the site was not commercial in nature; however, the decision does not address this - it appears that Davidoff only relied on unfair competition law, probably anticipating the "non commercial use" defense).

Posted by: Mark Schweizer @ 20.32
Tags: Switzerland, parody, unfair competition law,
Sharing on Social Media? Use the link below...
Perm-A-Link: https://www.marques.org/blogs/class46?XID=BHA1845
Reader Comments: 0
Post a Comment

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.

The Class 46 Archive








+44 (0)116 2747355
+44 (0)116 2747365

Unit Q, Troon Way Business Centre
Humberstone Lane, Leicester


Ingrid de Groot
Internal Relations Officer
Alessandra Romeo
External Relations Officer
James Nurton
Newsletter Editor
Robert Harrison

Signup for our blogs.
Headlines delivered to your inbox