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Bundesgerichtshof decides in Zappa trade mark dispute – German Federal Court of Justice (Bundesgerichtshof), I ZR 135/10 – ‘Zappa’ of 31 May 2012

Birgit Clark

Keywords: German Federal Court of Justice; Bundesgerichtshof; genuine use of trade marks; German trade marks; Community trade mark; celebrity trade marks; trade mark infringement; revocation

In a case concerning the enforcement of trade mark rights in the name of a deceased celebrity, the Bundesgerichtshof ruled that neither use of the domain name ‘’, nor use of the sign ‘Zappa Records’ was sufficient to prove genuine use of the trade mark ZAPPA under Articles 15 (1), (2a) EC Regulation 40/94 and confirmed that the heirs of the famous musician Frank Zappa cannot prevent a German music festival from calling itself ‘Zappanale’.

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