Iglo has suffered its second defeat in court in a long-running legal dispute over the uniqueness of the well-known advertising figure Captain Iglo. The Munich Higher Regional Court dismissed the Hamburg fish finger manufacturer’s appeal against a similar advertising figure by Cuxhaven-based competitor Appel Feinkost. The reasoning is still pending. The first ruling had been issued in December 2020. Iglo had sued, arguing that there was a risk of confusion for consumers because Appel also advertises its fish products with a bearded gentleman in front of a maritime backdrop. According to a report (dpa/wuv), presiding judge Andreas Müller made it clear at the hearing that he considered the likelihood of confusion to be very low: “In our preliminary view, deception as to the commercial origin is ruled out.” Even if consumers could not see the Appel logo when viewing the advertisement on the small display of their mobile phone, this would not be detrimental to Iglo, according to the court: “The sale of canned fish via mobile phones is likely to be a completely unusual distribution channel,” the judge said.
Captain Iglo has been known as an advertising figure in Germany since 1985, and as Captain Birdseye in Great Britain since 1966. The advertising figure has undergone many transformations over the years, which is why it was unclear to the court which of the numerous captains the competition had infringed. According to the law firm representing Iglo, the captain has three “core characteristics”: He is a middle-aged, white-grey bearded man of European appearance, wearing a blue suit with a white turtleneck and a blue sailor’s cap. Appel’s competing figure also wears a beard and cap, but poses on the coast. According to Appel, she does not represent a sailor because she is wearing an “elegant three-piece suit” and no sailor’s clothing. “The person appears to be more on the beach in her spare time,” the chairman noted. The lawyer commissioned by Iglo had referred to an online survey according to which the distinguished gentleman of the Appel advertisement in his three-piece suit was indeed misidentified by many consumers: “It is always and only the Captain Iglo who is seen in this figure. This is the bearded man we know from television and advertising.
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