Christiania Bikes – Not a generic term for cargo bikes

In Insights

13 September, 2018
Cargo bike

New decision from the Maritime and Commercial High Court in Denmark

The Copenhagen area of Christiania is well-known worldwide as a free town initiated by squatters, who back in 1971 occupied the area. This place was the cradle for the cargo bikes called “Christiania Bikes”. The first cargo bike was produced in 1984, and soon became a commercial success.

In 1989 the manufacturer moved the production from Christiania, but kept the name, “Christiania Bikes”.

In 1992 another bike company, Andersen & Meldgaard ApS, started to produce similar cargo bikes, using parts produced in Asia. These bikes were marketed under the name “Christiania Cykel” (“cykel” is the Danish word for bike).

After sending a warning letter in 2012, in 2016 and in 2017, which all remained unanswered, Christiania Bikes initiated a lawsuit in 2017 with the purpose to prevent Andersen & Meldgaard ApS from using the trademark “Christiania Bikes” and the name “Christiania Cykler”.

During the case, Andersen & Meldgaard ApS made the argument that the trademark “Christiania Bikes” had been degenerated, and now was a term commonly used for all types of cargo bikes.

The Maritime and Commercial High Court did not accept this argument nor did they accept an argument that the trademark lacked distinctiveness or that Christiania Bikes had lost the right of protest, due to in-action.

Consequently, Christiania Bikes were awarded DKK 150,000.00 in damages and remuneration for the unlawful use of the trademark “Christiania Bikes” and the name “Christiania Cykler”.

According to media coverage, Andersen & Meldgaard ApS has already decided to appeal the judgement.

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