Fighting for gold

In recent years Denmark has improved its sporting track record, in part thanks to the support given by Team Danmark. Team Danmark is an independent public institution charged with developing Danish sport in a socially and politically responsible manner, in conjunction with the National Sports Confederation of Denmark and specialist sports associations.

Danish businesses can support the cause by buying sponsorship packages that give them the exclusive right to use the Team Danmark logo in their fields of business. Sponsors include companies such as Grundfos, TDC, Nordea, edc mæglerne and Adecco. As a result, the Team Danmark logo appears in many contexts and is subject to wide public exposure. According to a Gallup survey carried out in 1996, 69 per cent of people interviewed recognised the Team Danmark logo and 83 per cent knew of Team Danmark.

In 1999 Brini ApS (later JobTeamDanmark A/S) filed an application to register the trademark JOBTEAMDANMARK for temporary employment agencies and education. Team Danmark opposed the registration based on its earlier registration of the trademark TEAM DANMARK, which covered education but not temporary employment agencies. At the same time, Team Danmark submitted that TEAM DANMARK was a well-known trademark that should enjoy extended protection. The Danish Patent and Trademark Office partially allowed the opposition, but permitted the continued registration of JOBTEAM DANMARK for temporary employment agencies. Thus, the score was thus far a 1-1 draw.

Team Danmark appealed the decision to the Danish Patents and Trademarks Board of Appeal, which upheld the appeal – making it 2-1 to Team Danmark. However, this ruling was further appealed and the Maritime and Commercial Court issued its decision on January 30 2008. The court held that:

  • TEAM DANMARK was a well-known trademark in Denmark;
  • the mark TEAM DANMARK was fully contained within the JOBTEAMDANMARK mark for which registration was sought; and
  • the inclusion of the word ‘job’ did not prevent the risk of confusion between the two marks.

The court ruled that the use of the JOBTEAMDANMARK mark would take unfair advantage of the reputation of the well-known TEAM DANMARK trademark and constituted a dilution of everything that TEAM DANMARK stood for as a trademark. JobTeamDanmark was ordered to pay Dkr200,000 in compensation, plus Dkr70,000 in legal costs, to Team Danmark. Thanks to the Maritime and Commercial Court, it was 3-1 to Team Danmark! However, the decision has been appealed to the Supreme Court, so the final score remains still to be decided.

This is an Insight article, written by a selected partner as part of IAM's co-published content. Read more on Insight

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