Switzerland: Federal Court decides in hotel “star war”

The Swiss Hotel Association started using one to five stars as symbols for hotel categorisation in 1979. In 2005 it registered according trademarks with the Swiss Trademark Register. GastroSuisse, another trade association of the Swiss hotel and gastronomy industry, could not reach an agreement with the Hotel Association on cooperative classification and thus decided to establish its own classification system also based on star symbols. The Swiss Hotel Association sued for infringement of its trademarks.The Swiss Federal Court in its judgemnet of Jan. 12, 2011 upheld the dismissal of the claim by the Commercial Court Zürich: star symbols for hotel classification were common property and could not be monopolized by the Hotel Associaion.Full text of judgement 4 A 385/2010 of Jan. 12. 2011 available in German here>>.

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