Court rules that heirs to trademark holder cannot resurrect protection

Denmark

In Tivoli A/S v Montana Moebler A/S (May 8 2012), the Maritime and Commercial Court has ruled in favour of Tivoli A/S, which owns the Tivoli Amusement Park in Copenhagen.

In 1955 the Danish designer Verner Panton designed a chair for a restaurant in Tivoli. The chair was named 'The Tivoli Chair'. The chair was industrially manufactured and sold under the designation 'The Tivoli Chair' up to approximately 1965, when production ceased.

In 2004 a Danish furniture manufacturer, Montana, obtained the right to manufacture and sell the Tivoli Chair from the heirs of Panton (who had passed away in 1998) and initiated production and sale.

Tivoli - the owner of a number of trademark registrations for the designation ‘Tivoli’ - objected to use of the designation ‘Tivoli’ for the chair. The parties agreed that the trademark TIVOLI was a famous trademark in Denmark in 1956 and remains so today.

The court found for Tivoli, stating that, although Tivoli might not have raised objections against Panton's use of the designation during the period between 1956 and 1965, this could not give either Panton's heirs or Montana the right to use the designation approximately 40 years after the time at which such use ceased.

The court ordered Montana to pay Dkr750,000 in compensation to Tivoli and a fine of Dkr25,000, plus Dkr98,900 as costs.

The case is under appeal to the Supreme Court.

Mads Marstrand-Jørgensen, Norsker & Co, Copenhagen

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