The Italian Court of Cassation has put a final end to the trademark conflict between the Dutch brewery Bavaria and the Bayerischer Brauerbund (BBB). After more than 6 years of litigation, in 2011 the Italian Court of Appeal already ruled that all Bavaria trademarks have priority over and do not conflict with the protected geographical indication Bayerisches Bier. Today, the Court of Cassation totally rejected the BBB appeal, which means Bavaria has finally won this battle. This victory in Italy is the next positive decision, after Bavaria’s recent victories in Australia and Spain and the positive decisions of the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg.
With this landmark decision, the Court of Cassation rejected entirely the BBB appeal, that was set after the decision of the Court of Appeal of Torino that the Bavaria figurative trademarks registered in Italy between 1971 and 1995 have all been validly registered and their use in Italy by Bavaria for its Dutch beer is legitimate and may continue notwithstanding the registration in 2001 of the geographical indication (“PGI”) Bayerisches Bier. The findings of the prior judgment issued on the merits in favour of both validity of the Bavaria figurative trademarks and of their legitimate use by Bavaria are therefore now final and indisputable. This implies that Bavaria can continue to sell in Italy its Bavaria Holland beer with no impediment from registration of the PGI Bayerisches Bier.
Peer Swinkels, boardmember of Bavaria, commented: “After the decision of the Court of Appeal, we are very happy that the Italian Court of Cassation finally ruled that Bavaria’s figurative trademarks in Italy have all been validly registered and can be used freely. This conclusion is a great support to further building our brandname and to enhancing the perception of quality of our Bavaria-brand. We can now concentrate on continuing our business in Italy, where we have a very strong position in the imported beer market.”
In its 300-year-old history, Bavaria has developed from a small brewery in the south of Holland into an international player. Nowadays, Bavaria is Europe’s biggest independent brewery. Sixty percent of the six million hectolitres of beer is exported
As an independent family owned company Bavaria has gained leading positions in niche markets, for example with Malt Drinks in the Middle-East. Except for the beer Bavaria is internationally known for their surprising commercials starring famous actors such as Mickey Rourke, Hugh Hefner and Charlie Sheen. Besides that Bavaria is famous for the Formula-1 event Bavaria Moscow City Racing, but also for remarkable WK-gadgets, such as the orange DutchDress during the Worldcup in 2010. In 2010 Bavaria won the award for Best Marketing Effort in Holland, which was presented at the prestigious NIMA Awards.
Bavaria worked together with the very well-known Italian IP boutique Studio LegaleJacobacci&Associati in this case, represented by Attorneys Massimo Sterpi and Luca Ghedina.