November 2017. German brewer Erdinger has been refused trademark protection for its ‘football glass’. The decision by the Board of Appeal of the European Trademark Office on 26 October 2017 marks the collapse of yet another familiar shape mark in Europe.

Football motif

The Board of Appeal concluded that the shape of the glass lacked distinctive capacity, and that the application of a motif at the top resembling a football did not alter this since it was mere decoration.


Slowly but surely the message is sinking in: there’s little point in registering shape marks in the EU. These days, you’d be better off putting in a timely application for a European design registration, which isn’t governed by such strict requirements.

Bas Kist