Wed, Aug. 03, 2005

Dr. No Title. No Dr. OK

CK - Washington.   The German law blog world is abuzz in discussion of an analysis by Dr. Wolfgang Zimmerling entitled Zum Anspruch auf Anrede mit dem Doktorgrad, or The Right to Being Addressed with the Degree of Doctor.

Dr. Zimmerling explains that the academic degree is not part of the name for purposes of §12 of the Civil Code which controls rights relating to names. Rather, Zimmerling notes that the degree is merely academic and not even a title, although the term doctor is colloquially used as, and frequently said to be, a title. §18(2) of the statute on the framework for universities, Hochschulrahmengesetz, HRG, conclusively leads to that result.

Subject to one important exception, a person with that degree may not insist on being addressed as Dr. SoAndSo. The exception follows from a decision by the top German court for employment matters, Bundesarbeitsgericht, which held that employers are required, absent exigent circumstances, to use the degree of an employee in external communications; see MDR 1984, 873 et seq.

Zimmerling's discourse provides relief to all who focus on substance and may confuse matters of form.

FIFA Wins Trademark Dispute

MAG - Washington.   The German federal patent court in Munich ruled on August 3, 2005 that corporate users of its soccer world cup trademark, such as food manufacturer Ferrero--which had lodged a complaint against FIFA, the world body governing soccer championships,--will remain unauthorised to use FIFA's trademarks "WM 2006" and "Fussball WM 2006" in advertising or on their products without FIFA license. In the matters 32 W(pat)237/04 and 238/04, the court thereby ended a long dispute between the FIFA and companies that disputed the registrability of the marks.

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