German Football Association’s Logo Potentially Violates Law

Kegler Brown Global Business News

The German Football Association (Deutscher Fussballbund or DFB) received bad news shortly after the national team won the World Cup in Brazil. The DFB's well-known eagle logo is in jeopardy after the DFB sued Real, a German supermarket chain, in a regional court in Munich for royalties for selling fan apparel containing the eagle logo. Real countered by petitioning Germany's trademark office (Deutsches Marken- und Patentamt or DPMA) to revoke the DFB's rights to the logo, arguing the eagle illustration too closely resembled the one found on Germany's federal coat of arms.

The DFB's position is that the eagle is a historic fixture of the association that is clearly protected; however, because German law prohibits monopolizing national symbols for financial gain, the DFB is now at risk of losing its registered trademark. The eagle is an extremely valuable trademark, and should the trademark be revoked, it could cost the DFB millions of Euros in revenue. The court's ruling is expected on August 7.

Coverage of this story also appeared in the Legal Tribune (German).