Verdict: Petry loses dispute with AfD for the name "The Blue Party"

  • The AfD had contested the registration as a trademark in the Patent and Trademark Office.
  • The district court Munich I argues in its judgment with likelihood of confusion.
  • The district court of Cologne had allowed Petry the use of the color "blue" in the past week – the AfD had complained against it.

The former AfD spokeswoman Frauke Petry probably needs a new name for her new grouping. The district court of Munich I appealed to the AfD, with which the party successfully challenged the registration of the name "Die blaue Partei" as a trademark with the Patent and Trademark Office.

The court annulled Petry's trademark mark in the judgment. Petry's new party claims to have about 150 members nationwide. Petry was until 2017 spokeswoman for the AfD, more precisely: until one day after the federal election. On September 25, she declared that she did not want to join the new AfD parliamentary group. A few days later she announced her departure from the party. Just two weeks later, she had the brand "The Blue Party" registered in her name.

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However, the AfD did not want to accept this – she had previously registered the brand "Die Blauen" for herself. So it came to the complaint, which dealt with the 33rd Civil Division of the District Court in a hearing in mid-November 2018. It was about so-called Nice classes, an international classification, are divided into the brands. And it was about how similar the two brands are – whether a reasonable observer runs the risk of confusing them.

The trademark law states that a match in one of the three categories word and image, sound and sense is sufficient to justify the likelihood of confusion. The chairman Judge Isolde Hannamann had already indicated in the hearing that she could recognize such a danger. This already hinted at what the verdict would be.

But Petry's lawyers argued that their designation "The Blue Party" had a recognition value, in contrast to the complaint of the AfD "The Blue", because that could also "drunks, fraternities, construction workers, a football team or their fans". In its judgment, however, the Court of First Instance established "a similarity of signs on the basis of the essential similarity of the signs shown in their content."

The regional court Cologne gave Petry right

A similar litigation had been decided differently in the past week by the regional court Cologne: There the AfD had complained against the use of the name component "blue": The color is an integral part of their public image and should therefore not be used by other parties. In this case, the district court Petry right: "The color blue is not the obvious, casual and exhaustive name of the AfD for identification," it says in the verdict. As a name would be used in public only "alternative for Germany" and the abbreviation "AfD" – unlike the Greens, where the color name is actually part of the party name.

Whether the judgment of the Munich district court is legally challenged or challenged in the next instance, was not clear on Tuesday. For Petry, however, it was definitely not the last court hearing: from 18 February onwards, she has to file a charge of perjury in a criminal case involving a total of seven days of trial. It should, so the prosecutor's charge, in 2015 – at that time still as a member of the AFD – in a meeting of the election examination committee of the Saxon Landtag under oath made a false statement on campaign financing.

Editor's note: The court has not banned Frauke Petry from using the name "The Blue Party". As a brand, for example, for advertising materials, but they can not use the name without risking a lawsuit of the AfD. In an earlier version this was misunderstood.

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