Munich I Regional Court: Käpt’n Iglo ./. Appel Feinkost – No anti-competitive imitation of Käpt’n Iglo by advertising with a male protagonist in a maritime background
In its judgement of 03.12.2020, the Munich I Regional Court had to decide on the question of whether the company Appel Feinkost is engaging in anti-competitive imitation of Käpt’n Iglo by advertising with a male protagonist in a maritime background.
Iglo accuses the Cuxhaven-based competitor of exploiting Käpt’n’s fame for its own purposes and, before the sentencing, pointed out once again that Käpt’n Iglo is known by more than 80 per cent of Germans. The Munich I Regional Court now countered this with its decision.
In its judgement of 3 December 2020 (Case No. 17 HK O 5744/20), the court classified neither beard nor cap as exclusive features of Käpt’n Iglo and dismissed Iglo’s claim. The Hamburg-based frozen food producer based its argument on misleading consumers. There was a likelihood of confusion between the two figures on the part of the consumer. However, the judges saw no evidence for this. The fact that both advertising figures were older men with beards and caps was not sufficient. This applies especially in light of the recognisable differences between the two characters: the Iglo icon wore a captain’s cap, while the figure of the Cuxhaven-based Appel company wore an Elblotsen cap. In addition, the gentleman in the Appel advertisement is wearing a grey and not a blue suit, as is typical for Iglo’s advertising figure. Instead of a white turtleneck jumper and a white T-shirt, the man under the Appel flag is wearing a checked waistcoat with tie and a silk scarf. Last but not least, the “bad weather sky” in the Appel campaign clearly stands out from the “clearly bluer and friendlier” sky in Iglo’s depiction.
In the opinion of the 17th Chamber of Commerce of the Regional Court of Munich I, which specialises, among other things, in the law against unfair competition the Appel campaign did not even depict a classic sailor, but rather a “distinguished, well-off gentleman in an elegant, chic three-piece suit with a silk scarf.” Moreover, the name and thus the origin marking of the defendant was clearly perceptible in the advertising and clearly pointed to the defendant. For the consumers addressed, it was thus undoubtedly recognisable that the challenged advertisement was neither connected with the figure of “Käpt`n Iglo” nor with the plaintiff’s party.
The judgement of the Munich I Regional Court is not legally binding.
Munich I Regional Court: Käpt’n Iglo ./. Appel Feinkost – No anti-competitive imitation of Käpt’n Iglo by advertising with a male protagonist in a maritime background.
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