Trademark law on the subject of Black Friday
Black Friday GmbH, based in Vienna, holds the sole main licence for the word mark and grants sublicences to customers. However, these are often expensive. Anyone who uses the term in a trademark way without having acquired a sublicense risks reprimands, according to reports up to 4000 Euro. Even if these could be dropped this year due to the BPatG’s pending ruling, we must therefore advise against an explicit use of the term in advertising. However, alternative formulations or modified spellings make it possible to circumvent this.
In Germany, the term “Black Friday” has been registered as a word mark at the German Patent and Trade Mark Office (DPMA) since 2013. Currently, the trademark owner is Super Union Holdings Limited in Hong Kong. However, the DPMA has decided to terminate the trade mark. The trade mark proprietor has filed an appeal against this decision. The Federal Patent Court has been examining this appeal since the end of September 2019. Current prognoses expect at least a partial revocation of the trade mark, but the judgement is still pending (as of 05.11.2019). And even after a judgement there is still the possibility of taking the dispute to higher instances. Experts report (German site) that the registration of the term as a word mark was done from the outset with abusive intent – and should not have happened at all due to the general usage of the term.
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