With Germany’s recent World Cup championship, official merchandise for the country’s national team has been flying off the shelves, netting the German soccer federation DFB millions in royalties for the use of their logo. However the German supermarket chain Real is arguing that the eagle logo is a national symbol and cannot be protected by the organization.
The legal dispute started when Real began selling soccer merchandise using an altered, yet similar, logo to bypass paying royalty fees to the soccer federation. DFB filed a lawsuit against the chain, but now the supermarket has decided to petition Germany’s trademark office to remove DFB rights to the logo since the illustration of the eagle is too similar to the one used in Germany’s own federal coat and arms.
According to Germany’s trademark laws, the country’s coat of arms, flag or other official emblems cannot be trademarked. It is under this basis that Real is hoping to stop the DFB from collecting royalties.
“The DFB eagle is a historic fixture of our association’s insignia and it is clearly protected,” DFB spokesman Ralf Köttker said in a statement.
Even if the trademark protection was revoked from the soccer federation, DFB would still have legal protection for their naming that is also on the logo.
If the ruling goes against DFB, the association would be in jeopardy of losing millions, as each jersey brings in 4.80 Euro in royalties.