June 2017. On 23 May, the Amsterdam Court of Appeal ruled that ‘Memory’ is a protected trademark of the German game and toy-maker Ravensburger, whose rights had been infringed when its rival Jaludo marketed its own Animals Memory, Santa Claus Memory and even Justin Bieber Memory games.
Ravensburger had initially suffered a painful defeat in 2015 when the Amsterdam District Court granted Jaludo access to the word ‘memory’. The court said that when consumers saw the word ‘memory’ in combination with another word, they would know it simply referred to the content of the game, i.e. a test of memory, rather than to a brand.
‘Memory’ a protected trademark
However, Ravensburger has now finally triumphed, with the Amsterdam Court of Appeal ruling that Memory is a protected trademark and that Jaludo, which often also uses the word with a single capital letter, had infringed Ravensburger’s trademark rights.
Legal action necessary
This shows it’s vital for companies which own rights to trademarks that can also be used as generic indicators – such as Spa, Luxaflex or TomTom – to take legal action whenever possible against anyone who uses the brand generically for commercial purposes. If they don’t, they’ll risk losing those rights. The ruling showed that Ravensburger was doing exactly the right thing by consistently filing a suit against anyone who used the word Memory in this way, thereby ensuring its trademark rights were upheld.