The aforementioned cola mix is almost as popular in Bavaria as beer and is referred to in many places as the “national drink” of the Bavarians. However, not every cola-mix drink is allowed to call itself “Spezi” easily. Thus, two breweries, namely Riegele Brewery and Paulaner Brewery, were involved in the proceedings before the Munich I Regional Court.
The Augsburg-based Riegele brewery registered the trademark “Spezi” in the 1950s. It founded the “Spezi Markengetränk-Verband” in 1977 to expand production under license together with other breweries.
However, there is one exception: Paulaner Brauerei has so far been allowed to call its beverage “Spezi” without paying annually for a license. With the lawsuit, Paulaner Brauerei now wants to ensure that it is allowed to use the “Spezi” label in the future as well. The brewery is referring to an agreement reached with Riegele in 1974. However, it is unclear exactly what kind of agreement is involved here.
Riegele Brauerei refers to a license agreement, which it has now terminated after almost 50 years, on the grounds that the current Paulaner Group is not the legal successor to Paulaner Salvator Thomas-Bräu AG, with which the Spezi agreement was made. Riegele Brauerei then offered to conclude a new ten-year license agreement.
Paulaner Brauerei, however, does not consider the agreement to be a license agreement, but rather a kind of delimitation agreement, since it was merely intended to ensure that the two Spezi beverages could coexist. Paulaner Brauerei therefore filed the declaratory action, because in the new license agreement offered by Riegele Brauerei, up to five million euros would have to be paid annually.
The verdict is pending until the end of August – it remains to be seen whether the two parties will settle by then.