Polar Bear Knut Gets Protection From European Union Court

The owners of Knut, the Berlin polar bear reared by zookeepers after his mother abandoned him, won a European Union court challenge over the EU-wide trademark rights to the animal’s name.

The EU General Court in Luxembourg today ruled in favor of the Berlin zoo’s bid to get European trademark rights to the bear’s name. The zoo is in litigation with U.K. company Knut IP Management over the names ‘Knut’ and ‘Knut der Eisbaer’ and won a first round at the bloc’s trademark authority in March 2010.

Knut, who died in 2011 at the age of four, boosted visits to the Berlin zoo with his birth in 2006 by 21 percent. He was featured on the cover of Vanity Fair with Leonardo DiCaprio in a portrait by the photographer Annie Leibovitz, and television channels documented the cub’s every move as he learned to swim and slurped milk out of a bottle.

The U.K. company took the case to the EU court, whose ruling today can be appealed to the EU Court of Justice.

The case is: T-250/10, Knut IP Management v. OHMI - Zoologischer Garten Berlin (KNUT - DER EISBAER).

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