Polar bear infringement

Berlin Zoo will keep the rights to the name of Knut. The cute cuddly polar bear that captured hearts worldwide and devastated fans when he died.

You must remember this: Knut, born in December 2006, shot to global fame after he was abandoned by his mother and was raised by hand by a zookeeper. This quickly drew TV crews from around the world.

At the height of his fame, Knut even appeared on the cover of Vanity Fair magazine and on German postage stamps, generating millions of euros (dollars) for Berlin Zoo.

When he died in 2011 from a suspected brain seizure, fans left flower bouquets, written tributes and photos of the bear at his former den. A bronze sculpture called “Knut The Dreamer” went up last year.

The Luxembourg court ruling was a victory over Knut IP Management Ltd, which had registered the trademark KNUT DER EISBAER (Knut The Polar Bear) for a range of merchandise.

The General Court of the European Union on Monday said it had settled the zoo’s dispute with the British company which had in 2007 applied to registered the Knut trademark for clothing, shoes and sports articles and other goods.

The court said Berlin Zoo had argued there was a likelihood of confusion with its Germany-registered trademark “Knud”, a slight variation on the bear’s name, for products including books, games, toys and dolls. The court agreed “there exists indeed a likelihood of confusion in German-speaking regions”.


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