Parties polarised in bear dispute

Today's Telegraph reports that the dispute between the Nuremburg Zoo and Bavarian confectionery manufacturer Fair Field over rights to the trade mark FLOCKE ("snowflake") has now reached the courts. Fair Field applied to register the word FLOCKE on 13 January for herbal lozenges, five days before the city of Nuremburg announced that it had chosen the same name for its newborn new polar bear cub. The zoo suspected foul play, since Fair Field applied to register not only the FLOCKE mark, but also FLOCKE THE POLAR BEAR and FLOCKE THE POLAR BEAR CUB (the IPKat is quoting from the Telegraph here, but it seems natural that the company should want an English-language trade mark given that its own name is English too). Anyway, judgment has been adjourned till 7 March and the court has urged the parties to settle if they can. The IPKat suspects that, had this case broken out in England and Wales, the bear would probably be in the hands of the social workers by now; it would be taken into care, given a new identity and released elsewhere to enable it to make a fresh start ...

Financial footnote: it appears that Flocke the polar bear is worth millions of pounds in revenues to the city of Nuremburg, both from admission tickets at the zoo and from licensing and merchandising deals. The cub shot to fame after the zoo initially said it would leave nature to take its course when her mother showed signs of rejecting her, only to perform a U-turn in the face of a public outcry [Merpel says, it's not fair -- there's never any public outcry when someone neglects a trade mark and just lets nature take its course].

The story of Knut the polar bear here
Make your own polar bear here
Recipe for Alaskan polar bear here

See earlier posts on Class 46 by leading authority on German polar bear cub trade marks Birgit Clark here, here, here, here, here, here and here
Parties polarised in bear dispute Parties polarised in bear dispute Reviewed by Jeremy on Tuesday, February 26, 2008 Rating: 5

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