Trademark Infringement

Die ursprüngliche Version dieses Blogs wurde dafür angelegt, die Kommunikation zwischen dem FSC und der Firma eurobinia der Öffentlichkeit zugänglich zu machen. Eurobinia verwendete in einem Flyer eine abgewandelte Form des FSC-Logos (das auch auf diesem Blog mehrfach ersichtlich ist), was der FSC als Anlass nahm, die im Flyer enthaltene Kritik zu unterbinden. Weitere Details finden sich im untenstehenden Artikel.
In den nächsten Monaten wird darüber hinaus der Markenrechtsstreit zwischen eurobinia und dem FSC in Serbien und der Ukraine neue Entwicklungen zeigen, die wir dann ebenfalls an dieser Stelle veröffentlichen werden.

Wie für alle auf diesem Blog zur Verfügung stehenden Dokumente gilt: herunterladen, teilen, auseinandersetzen und rückmelden sind ausdrücklich erwünscht.

This page gives an overview over past or current legal actions taken by the FSC against eurobinia:


31 March 2010: FSC takes legal action for trademark infringement

In March 2010, the FSC took legal action against eurobinia for trademark infringement. This was initiated by a brochure, eurobinia published to defend itself against the critique of several FSC-loval NFPOs, containing eurobinia’s position towards the FSC (namely: critical, non-compliant) and an alteration of the FSC-logo, the figurative trademark of the FSC, but with a red circle frame and a crossing line running through it:

The FSC states this was an unauthorized usage of their property.


In the following weeks:


September 2010, The Hearing:

The hearing took place at September 1st. The FSC was represented by lawyers Jankowski and advocate Dr. Osnabrügge. As respresentive of FSC A.C.  Mr. Wieschalla attended as well. The defendant was present himself and represented represented by his lawyerMunderloh.

At the hearing the legal position was extensively discussed, all parties were able to comment the facts of the case. The record of that hearing can be found here: Record hearing

The FSC reacted one week, asking the court to reconsider the legal foundation of his – until this point unpublished – decision. The letter can be found here: Statement of FSC to hearing


October 2010: FSC asks for correction of the court’s decision

The FSC applied to the court to correct it’s decision, but was consequently turned down. Unfortunately, the documents are again only available in German:

Antrag des FSCs auf Änderung des Urteils

Ablehnung des Antrag des FSCs durch das Landgericht Braunschweig


November 2010: FSC appeals

As was to be expected after the FSC’s first reaction to the judge’s statement, they have lodged an appeal.

A general assumption, the working group eurobinia stated at that time, was that the FSC is aware  that their claims against eurobinia are not likely to be given into, but is afraid to admit that the court’s statement does not hold them in the best light.

Download of the FSCs appeal letter

Download of annex of the FSCs appeal letter

Because the FSC appeals against the judgement of the district court Braunschweig, eurobinia was obliged to react: Answer to appeal


January 2011: Indicative Court Order

After having examined the appeal of the FSC and the reply to defence appeal of eurobinia, the higher regional court of Braunschweig answered with a indicative court order, stressing the intention to dismiss the FSC’s appeal, due to the low change of success.

The court also clearly stated, that the targeted consumers will neither confuse the logo for the FSC’s nor be confused about it’s intention. It furthermore underlined the fact that the FSC has to accept and deal with criticism, and that the latter is neither denigrative not dishonest, just because it is criticism. The FSC was given 3 weeks to publish another statement or withdraw the appeal.

The entire indicative order is available for download here (only in German)


February 2010: FSC withdrews appeal

Due to the apparent position and the court’s statement, the FSC withdrew the appeal for the trademark infringement on February 4th 2011. Therefore, they had to accept the first instance’s decision. This stresses the fact, that criticism is not only legitimate but necessary. The FSC’s unfounded accusations were not taken up by press and media.

The documents:

Withdraw of appeal by FSC

Decision of district court Braunschweig


Summary:

The court clearly stated, that all the content of eurobinia’s brochure was true. It additionally clearly dismissed the FSCs lawsuit against eurobinia. In all used forms the representation of the distorted logo doesn’t leave any scope of interpretation. The statement to distance oneself from the FSC and its products is seen by the court as clear and expressive.

Furthermore the court refers to possibly statements of false and derogatory issues which have always to be seen as dishonest. Here the court establishes that this is not the case:

“The defendant shows in his flyer with the help of examples that FSC certified companies do not comply with the requirements for ecologically responsible forest management installed by the plaintiff. The mentioned cases of malpractice were not denied by the plaintiff. For that reason it is to assume for this legal action that the FSC-certificate is in fact no warrantor that products labeled with it originate from sustainable and legal forest management. Here it is a matter of fact criteria of choice of timber for the ecologically aware customer.” (citation Page 8 last clause)

That fact should attract general attention and should encourage to continue to challange the FSC sytem in a critical way. What are the real aims of the FSC? Does the FSC Certificate meet the expactations of the customers? It the FSC certificate really an appropriate mean for the compliance with the directive of puplic procurement?

About a possibly continuation of the legal action due to a possibly appeal from the first instance by the FSC, or about a legally binding judgement we will continue to inform you.

To see into the judgement please find it for download here (soon available in english):

Judgement – trademark litigation – FSC versus eurobinia