The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce and its exclusive licensing agent Global Icons announced today that they have won a lawsuit filed in Germany against Mensing department store, in Dorsten, Germany, and Schleifenbaum Design & Project over unauthorized use of the Chamber’s licensed trademark properties, the world famous Hollywood Sign and the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The court in Bochum, Germany ruled on June 19, 2013 in favor of the Chamber’s claim.
“The court’s determination that these companies violated the Chamber’s rights sends a message that companies outside the U.S. cannot violate our trademark and other rights,” said Hollywood Chamber President & CEO Leron Gubler. “This is the first time in more than 35 years of owning these trademarks we have been forced to take legal action internationally to protect them.”
Global Icons office in Munich discovered the department store’s illegal usage of the Chamber’sinternational trademark rights. “Mensing had created a ‘Hollywood’ themed shop and environment with a large wall dedicated to the iconic Hollywood sign and also recreated over a dozen ‘Walk of Fame’ stars on the store floor,” stated Jeff Lotman, CEO of Global Icons. “We vigorously pursued Mensing and its design agent Schleifenbaum, and the court agreed with our position that the use of the Hollywood sign and Walk of Fame trademarks constituted infringement.”
While Mensing and Schleifenbaum were offered the opportunity to license the marks, both claimed that the Chamber had no valid enforceable trademark rights to the Hollywood sign and further asserted that neither the sign nor the Walk of Fame had global recognition. Attorney Christine Sovich of Sovich Minch LLP who represents the Chamber and Global Icons in infringement cases commented, “It is always our preference to reach an amicable resolution. However, the defendants in this instance left us with no choice but to litigate these issues. The Chamber is very serious about the protection of its intellectual property throughout the world. Together, with German counsel Nikolaus Reber of Dr. Roth & Kollegen we were able to deliver this important international victory for the Chamber.”
Claims for injunctive relief, information, damages and costs were based on German law against unfair competition as it pertained to the use of the Chamber’s protected marks. This law prohibits unfair imitation practices combined with an exploitation of reputation.