The “Oktoberfest” name is known worldwide and, in the opinion of the German Patent and Trade Mark Office, it is a purely descriptive epithet in the public domain under section 8, paragraph 2, point 2, of the German Trade Mark Act. Meanwhile the City of Munich, Oktoberfest’s organiser, has been attempting to have the “Oktoberfest” word mark trademarked at European level by the European Union Intellectual Property Office since 2016. Such an action would monopolise almost all the commercially exploitable goods and services segments for the “Oktoberfest” name across Europe. According to a report by the Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper, the city has taken a crucial step forward to having the term “Oktoberfest” legally protected as a brand.
The newspaper has just learned that the European Union Intellectual Property Office approved the city’s petition to trademark numerous significant categories back in late August. This trademark protection therefore now applies to a whole range of licensable souvenir objects such as glasses, toys and clothing, among other things. The office had rejected this application until recently, stating that the “Oktoberfest” brand was too general. The city has now won significant elements of its appeal to the EU authority. It will remain impossible to ban Oktoberfests in other cities or to trademark beer, other drinks and food items. However, the office did approve trademarks for a wide variety of accessories and textiles, including soap, as well as a range of services.