Oktoberfest beer must come from Munich

08 November 2022

The goal of a trademark is to distinguish a product or service so that consumers know it is made by Company A, and not by company B.

Trademarks concern usually ‘individual’ trademarks:  trademarks originating from and used by one or maybe just a few companies. A certification mark is used to indicate the quality of a product. The difference with an individual trademarks is that the holder of the certification mark cannot make use of the certified trademark itself.. Moreover, a certification mark cannot concern a geographical indication in the EU.

A somewhat similar concept to a certification mark is a designation of origin and geographical indication, such as Gouda Holland cheese, Champagne or Gorgonzola. These are the names of regional products which, according to a European regulation, are eligible for protection. Unlike trademarks, they are product characteristics (i.e. generic characteristics). The word generic suggests that anyone can use them, but this is not the case. Any producer who does not meet the conditions is not permitted to use the characteristic, and you can rest assured that this is strictly enforced!

The latest to join this list is Oktoberfest bier, which may only be described as such if it comes from Munich! Cheers.


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