The Christiania area in Copenhagen is known worldwide as a free town initiated by squatters, who occupied the area in 1971. Moreover, this is where cargo bikes called ‘Christiania Bikes’ originated. 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 warning letters in 2012, 2016 and 2017, which all went unanswered, Christiania Bikes initiated a lawsuit in 2017 to prevent Andersen & Meldgaard ApS from using the trademark CHRISTIANIA BIKES and the name Christiania Cykler. Andersen & Meldgaard ApS argued that the CHRISTIANIA BIKES mark had become a generic term commonly used for all types of cargo bike.
The Maritime and Commercial High Court rejected this argument, as well as the claims that the trademark lacked distinctiveness and that Christiania Bikes had lost the right to protest due to inaction.
Consequently, Christiania Bikes was awarded Dkr150,000 in damages and remuneration for the unlawful use of the CHRISTIANIA BIKES mark and the name Christiania Cykler.
Andersen & Meldgaard ApS has appealed the judgment.