Following the second cancellation of the official Oktoberfest festival in Munich, as a result a of the Covid-19 pandemic, a third party in Dubai sought to launch “Oktoberfest goes Dubai,” triggering legal action from the City of Munich who argued that the organisers of the Dubai event wanted to profit unfairly from its cancellation and used misleading advertisements suggesting they were connected to the original and historic event.
Pinsent Masons’ partners Florian Traub (London) and Dr. Nils Rauer (Frankfurt) acted for the City of Munich, successful securing an injunctive relief to tackle the misleading promotion of the event and the undue exploitation of the original Oktoberfest’s reputation. On 25 June 2021, the Regional Court of Munich ruled in favour of the City of Munich.
Under the ruling, the judges have banned the use of the slogan "Oktoberfest goes Dubai" as well as the use of a logo developed especially for the event in Dubai. The same applies to a promotional film and certain advertising material referring to the event. “The good reputation of the Munich Oktoberfest is being unfairly exploited by the organisers and the target public is being deceived”, said presiding judge when handing down the chamber’s judgement.
Dr. Nils Rauer, Partner at Pinsent Masons, said: "We are very pleased with the judgement. The court confirms our legal opinion. The organisation of the Oktoberfest enjoys protection under German Act Against Unfair Competition. It is a legal acquis which has been built up over decades. It is rewarding to see that the court valued this accordingly." Florian Traub adds: "We are truly satisfied and very pleased for the City of Munich. The favourable ruling is the result of an excellent and very pleasant cooperation with Clemens Baumgärtner, Felix Müller-Stoy and the entire team of the City of Munich."
Clemens Baumgärtner, Labour and Economic Affairs Officer responsible for the Oktoberfest, said: "It was important to us to protect the Oktoberfest and the interests of our many partners. The ruling strengthens our position as organisers of the original Oktoberfest and is a clear warning to anyone who tries to exploit the value and core of our acquis for their own profit."
Pinsent Masons team advised the City of Munich on all aspects of the case. In addition to Dr. Nils Rauer and Florian Traub, a team from the firm’s Dubai office, led by partner Nesreen Osman were involved in the successful case.