European campaign Vlaams Belang infringes Westmalle trademarks

Campaigns from Belgian political party Vlaams Belang often lead to court cases. The latest campaign for the European Parliamentary elections was no different: “Westmal of halal”. In the campaign we see Philip Dewinter drinking from a dome shaped glass, which is filled with a dark brown liquid. This image is the main visual on the Facebook campaign and the Twitter message announcing the campaign.

Abdij der Trappisten van Westmalle did not wish to be associated with this multimedia political campaign and started a procedure with the district court of Antwerp. The abbey did not only register the word WESTMALLE TRAPIST as a trademark, but also the distinctive shape of her Westmalle glass. The court ruled that the campaign does infringe the trademark rights. Westmal is a shortened version of Westmalle, which is the dominant element of the trademark WESTMALLE TRAPPIST. The dome shaped glass is also similar to the abbey’s registration. In the campaign it is also clear that reference is made to the Westmalle beer and not the like named village. This means an unfair advantage is being taken of the trademark’s reputation. The campaign may furthermore also damage the reputation of the trademark. The campaign was therefore prohibited for the European elections.


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MENTOS has been selling chewing gum under the name MENTOS PURE FRESH for several years. In order to protect her rights MENTOS has registered the following trademarks: the logo MENTOS PURE FRESH, the logo MENTOS PURE FRESH 3 and a figurative depiction of the word PURE. Defendant sells chewing gum under the trademark DENTYNE PURE and has registered its logo as a trademark. Infringement or not?
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