If two competing businesses reach a demarcation agreement on the marketing of their products, this is in principle valid for an indefinite period of time.
Cologne, NRW -- (SBWIRE) -- 10/01/2013 -- GRP Rainer Lawyers and Tax Advisors in Cologne, Berlin, Bonn, Bremen, Dusseldorf, Essen, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Hanover, Munich, Nuremberg, Stuttgart and London http://www.grprainer.com/en conclude: The Regional Court of Braunschweig had to rule on a case (Az.: 9 O 2637/12) concerning a demarcation agreement between two spirits producers. The two firms reached an agreement in 1974 that regulated which producer could use which colours in marketing their products. The claimant terminated the contract in 2009, pointing out that the market conditions had changed in the intervening years. It had since become associated with the colour green and not the defendant. This was also supported by the fact that the defendant announced declining sales figures. This change in the market provided the grounds for termination.
The Court did not agree with the claimant’s view and rejected the complaint, there being no evident grounds for termination. The demarcation agreement from the 70s did not contain any rule that provided for an ordinary right of termination. A change in market conditions, as was plead by the claimant, had not occurred in the view of the judges, which is why an extraordinary termination was ruled out. Such a demarcation agreement is valid for an indefinite period and must still be observed even after 30 years. Moreover, the colour green continues in fact to be very important for the marketing of the defendant’s products.
The judges went on to clarify that it was not unreasonable for the claimant to have to continue adhering to the agreement. It was not forbidden to use the colour green on a small scale. Furthermore, the agreement had not hitherto hindered the claimant’s economic success. Similarly, no cartel law aspects were present which would have established that the agreement was impermissible.
The diversity of trademark law sometimes presents businesses concerned with legal problems. Here, the appearance on the market and the product’s connection with certain symbols and colours play an important role in economic success. In order to avoid infringing any existing rights, one should draw on the help of a lawyer active in the field or trademark law. In the case of trademark breaches and the enforcement of possible claims, he can support you in a consultative capacity.
GRP Rainer LLP http://www.grprainer.com/en/ is an international firm of lawyers and tax advisors who are specialists in commercial law. The firm counsels commercial and industrial companies and corporations, as well as associations, small- and mid-sized businesses, self-employed freelancers and private individuals worldwide from offices Cologne, Berlin, Bonn, Dusseldorf, Essen, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Hannover, Munich, Stuttgart, Bremen, Nuremberg and London UK.
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