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© BVG/Oliver Lang

In Berlin, the design of the BVG seat covers consisting of irregular patches in red, dark and light blue, black and white is affectionately called the “Würmchenmuster”. In the manner of a camouflage pattern, it was intended, according to its creator Prof. Herbert Lindinger, “to make the ‘paintings’ with felt-tip pens, which are so popular with vandals and difficult to remove, appear less conspicuous”. Lindinger once designed the camouflage pattern for the S-Bahn, which was part of the BVG in West Berlin times. Over the years, the “little worms” became cult and were marketed by BVG on bathing slippers, mobile phone covers, scarves and backpacks. In 2018, a limited edition BVG/Adidas sneaker with an integrated annual pass was even offered for 180 euros in the camouflage pattern box. Back in May, we reported on a legal dispute between the creator of the “Urban Jungle”, as the seat cover pattern is officially called, and BVG.

Lindinger had sued at the Hamburg Regional Court for compliance with his copyright, as BVG also used his design for various merchandising products. Now the court has made a decision in his favour and banned the state company from using the Wimmel pattern, with a few exceptions.

Seats with the pattern do not have to be torn out; in individual BVG vehicles, the change of pattern may well take a long time. The seats of new vehicles have been given a different design for some years now. However, BVG is now no longer allowed to use the Lindingers pattern on tickets and cars, nor to sell corresponding merchandising articles. In addition, according to the Regional Court, BVG must provide the plaintiff with information on the extent of such uses, on sales and profits generated from them since the end of 2018. There is a claim for damages and a claim by the plaintiff for surrender of the affected goods so that they can be destroyed. The SNB wants to examine whether it is worth going to the next instance.

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