For what was originally a fictitious beverage fawned over by a yellow cartoon character with four fingers, Duff Beer and its would-be real-life producers have spent a surprising amount of time in court. And on Thursday, yet another such legal tiff was resolved — with Germany’s Federal Court of Justice (BGH) essentially ruling that the country can have two separate beers named Duff.
The case had spent months advancing through the German court system before landing on the docket of the BGH. Duff Beer UG, which has brewed the stuff since 2007 in the state of Hesse, had sued to have a Duff beer trademark held by another brewery in southern Germany since 1999 declared invalid. The Hesse brewery had argued that its rival had registered the trademark, but then had used a graphically altered label, thus rendering the trademark void. Furthermore, it isn’t even clear that the victorious company even still produces beer under the name.
After two lower courts had come to contrary conclusions, the BGH ruled on Thursday that the original holder of the Duff beer trademark could keep it. In other words, Duff Beer UG in the state of Hesse, which has become well known in Germany and the rest of Europe for its version of Homer Simpson’s favorite suds, will continue being merely one of a pair of Duff beers in Germany.
Two Duff beer’s in Germany… Doh!