Decision of the Federal Supreme Court 15 February 2018 – Case No. I ZR 201/16
  • Trade Mark Act Sec. 15(2) and (4)
Decision • Trade Mark Law Germany
  1. 1.

    A component of a company name cannot be denied protection as a company keyword merely because its distinctiveness is weak. What counts is whether it as a part of the company symbol is suited, compared to the other components of the company name, to establish itself in the course of trade as a reference to the company in the manner of a catchword.

  2. 2.

    The operator of a platform-internal search engine which, upon entry of a search term similar or identical to a company symbol, automatically displays auto-completed search term suggestions based on an analysis of previous searches, uses that sign itself (following Federal Supreme Court, decision of 14 May 2013 VI ZR 269/12, BGHZ 197, 213 para. 17 – Autocomplete-Funktion).

  3. 3.

    The use of a company symbol as a keyword for the display of search term autocompletions does not take place in an unauthorised manner when it merely serves to provide the Internet users with an alternative to the goods or services of this company and it does not compromise the function of the company symbol to serve as a reference to the company.



Protection of a company name as a keyword Platform-internal search engine Use of a trade mark Infringement Unauthorised use 

Copyright information

© Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition, Munich 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Trade Mark Act Sec. 15(2) and (4)

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations