Dispute over PAULANER SPEZI ended

Riegele, a well-known Swabian brewery based in Augsburg, owns the trade mark rights to SPEZI. The Paulaner brewery, a long-established Munich brewery with an annual presence at the Oktoberfest, has been using the name PAULANER SPEZI for its lemonade and cola mix drink since the 1960s.

Riegele wanted to prohibit this trademark use and cancelled a trademark coexistence agreement concluded with Paulaner in 1974. This agreement allowed Paulaner to use the name PAULANER SPEZI in return for a one-off payment. Riegele now wanted to conclude a licence agreement and receive money in return for continuing to market “Paulaner Spezi” under this name.

With its action for a declaratory judgement in the first instance before the Munich Regional Court, Paulaner obtained a declaration that the trademark coexistence agreement was still valid and continued to exist. In the opinion of the court, trademark coexistence and delimitation agreements – in contrast to licence agreements – cannot be terminated ordinarily. This is because the term of protection of registered trade mark rights can be extended indefinitely by simply paying a fee, according to the court. According to the Chamber, Paulaner also had no reason for extraordinary termination by Riegele, as it had always behaved in accordance with the contract.

Riegele recently withdrew its appeal against the first-instance decision before the Munich Higher Regional Court, as the presiding judge did not judge the situation differently here either.

Now that the judgement has become final, Paulaner may continue to use the PAULANER SPEZI symbol to label its mixed drinks.

Editorial team beck-aktuell, 07.12.2023
Munich Regional Court I, press release 24 of 11 October 2022 (Ref. 33 O 10784/21)

January 17, 2024
Vanessa Bockhorni
Patent Attorney