“Gschützt is’!” - City of Munich protects name of Oktoberfest
Bad luck for all imitators: The city of Munich had the colloquial name for the biggest beer fest in the world (“Wiesn”) protected by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO).
It takes some imagination today to understand what the location of the annual Oktoberfest in Munich has in common with a “meadow”. But that’s what the common name of the place - “Wiesn” - actually means. What is a huge sealed area in the center of Munich today used to be a meadow when the first “Oktoberfest” was celebrated back in 1810.
On September 13, three years after the application, the EUIPO finally registered the word mark “Wiesn” which is now protected till 2025 for the city of Munich. The unusually long duration of proceedings reflects some back-and-forth between the office and the city of Munich on the question for which goods the name can actually be protected without creating a problematic monopolization. The city declared it didn’t intend to monetize its mark, but rather avoid third parties from doing so. Munich also tried to protect the word mark “Oktoberfest” – the registration process is still pending.
For the official opening of this year’s “Wiesn”, instead of using the established slogan “O’zapft is! (It has been tapped!)” - the mayor of Munich could well say: “Gschützt is! (It has been protected!)”
Understanding how to trademark a brand and properly leverage marks within your marketing efforts is essential for protecting and expanding a business identity.