Bramstrup is successful in a case of general public importance about a special property name
31 August 2015
Special property names are protected by the Danish general legal doctrines. This is the conclusion of a judgment passed by the Danish Eastern High Court about the use of the name Bramstrup. Plesner conducted the case on behalf of the owner of the estate Bramstrup in the, as far as is known, first Danish judgment about special property names.
|On 26 August 2015 the Danish Eastern High Court passed a judgment in a case between Niels Langkilde, the owner of Bramstrup, of the first part and the company Automester Bramstrup ApS and its owner, Steen Bentsen, of the second part.
Since the 1500s Bramstrup has been the name of an estate close to Nørre Lyndelse, Denmark, which has been in the ownership of the Langkilde family since 1848. Since 1995 the defendant has run a car repair shop at the address Bramstrupvej 27, Årslev, Denmark. In 2013 the defendant changed the name of the business from Højby Bilcenter Odense ApS to Automester Bramstrup ApS.
Niels Langkilde brought a legal action before the District Court in Svendborg, Denmark, claiming that Bramstrup is a special property name and that as a consequence the defendant was to stop the commercial use of the name Bramstrup. The defendant pleaded that Bramstrup is not a special property name and that in any case he was allowed to use the name as the company is situated in the town Bramstrup. The District Court found in favour of Automester Bramstrup on the basis of trademark law considerations and the case was appealed to the Danish Eastern High Court.
First and foremost the High Court found that Bramstrup is a special name of Niels Langkilde's property and that "Bramstrup" in Funen, Denmark, is not the name of a town, a place or an area that is different from the Bramstrup Estate.
The High Court then found that under Danish general law doctrines the owner of a property with a special name may prevent third parties from using the name in the area where the property is known. As Automester Bramstrup ApS is situated about 1 km from the Estate, the High Court found that it would be natural to make a connection between the name of the company Automester Bramstrup and the Bramstrup Estate regardless of the fact that it was undisputed that there was no identity of industries or any other risk of confusion between the two businesses. Niels Langkilde consequently put a stop to the unlawful use of the name Bramstup. There was no basis for damages as the appellant had not suffered any loss.
The Danish Eastern High Court consequently held that special property names enjoy a general, non-statutory protection against third parties using the name in the area where the property is known.
Attorney-at-law Kasper Frahm conducted the case on behalf of the owner of Bramstrup, Niels Langkilde.