For the half-year to 31 December 2014, the IPKat's regular team is supplemented by contributions from guest bloggers Rebecca Gulbul, Lucas Michels and Marie-Andrée Weiss.

Regular round-ups of the previous week's blogposts are kindly compiled by Alberto Bellan.

Tuesday, 9 December 2003

WEIN KAMPF

According to Ananova, Christmas sales of Adolf Hitler wine have reached a record high, following the publicity generated by attempts to ban it both in Brussels and Berlin. Wine-grower Alessandro Lunardelli started selling the bottles of Hitler wine in Germany in 1995 after the success of his Mussolini label in Italy. Lunardelli maintains that Christmas sales have "gone through the roof" thanks to the interest generated by publicity over attempts to ban his wine. "Getting sued was the best thing that could have happened", Lunardelli is quoted as saying. Lunardelli was previously sued in Italy over his Mussolini wine but escaped fines and jail because authorities said it could not be proven that he was promoting fascism. His Hitler wine has caused a similar row, with Germany asking Italy to act to stop Lunardelli. The Hitler wine is on the market with the slogan "One People, One Empire, One Leader" ("Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Führer”) and has variations with pictures of Rommel and Goering. Lunardelli rejects any allegations that he is promoting fascism and Nazism and points out he also offers bottles with pictures of Marx, Stalin, Lenin and Che Guevara. "It's strange that Stalin murdered 15 million people, but there is no fuss about the bottle. And for the labels with Hitler and Mussolini I ended up in court", Lunardelli commented.

The IPKat thinks this exercise in the peddling of wines based on such personalities is in very poor taste. However, if traders are allowed to sell books and other products commemorating villains such as Hitler and Mussolini, it seems invidious and arbitrary to make an exception for wines. So here’s a brilliant new idea. It would be a good idea if national authorities could register a new type of trade mark, the “non-mark”. Non-marks would include such names and words as were thought to promote fascism, racism and other undesirable doctrines. The national authorities could then commence actions for infringement of the non-mark if anyone used it on any goods or services for which it was registered and seek injunctive relief, in much the same way as if they were protecting a regular trade mark. Since a non-mark is intended not to be used, it would not be revocable for non-use. Applications for marks too similar to non-marks (for example HILTER, which is too similar to HITLER) could be refused for being liable to cause confusion with the unacceptable name.

More on Herr Hitler, not to be confused with Herr Hilter

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