Deals & Cases

Swiss Court confirms that Porsche is a “famous trademark” in Switzerland

The Commercial Court of the Canton Aargau has confirmed that PORSCHE is a “famous trademark” in an injunction and prohibited a third-party company from using the designation PORSCHEBOX and the domain for an online advertising platform (Commercial Court of the Canton of Aargau, decision of 29 July 2021, HSU.202 1.20).

Based on the famous trademark PORSCHE according to Art.15(1) of the Swiss Trademark Act (MSchG), Porsche successfully took action against a company that offered a worldwide online platform from Switzerland under the domain name, on which its listed clients could advertise their offers in connection with Porsche vehicles. For the Court, there was “no doubt” that the PORSCHE trademark had an outstanding reputation in Switzerland and an unique position. The reputation of the applicant’s mark within the meaning of Art. 15(1) MSchG was therefore to be affirmed “without further ado”. Moreover, according to the Court it cannot be seriously questioned that the prominent use of the sign PORSCHE as part of the designation PORSCHEBOX evokes associations with the applicant’s famous PORSCHE mark and that this is precisely what the defendant was aiming at. This effect is reinforced by the fact that the strong and characteristic element PORSCHE remains in the memory of the customers and not the word “Box” with its common character. Due to the strong similarity with the applicant’s mark, the mark PORSCHEBOX jeopardises its distinctive character. According to the Court, there is a risk that the opposing party will be seen as a company associated with the applicant, which may lead to a dilution of the designation of origin of the PORSCHE trademark.

The confirmation of the fame of the PORSCHE trademark is of particular importance insofar as the owners of a famous trademark can prohibit others from using it for any kind of goods or services if such use endangers the distinctive character of the trademark or exploits or impairs its reputation.

MLL is pleased to have successfully represented Porsche in this matter. The team consisted of the MLL lawyers Peter Schramm (Partner) and Daniel Donauer (Associate).

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