November 23, 2002

MobiliX: Court says Mobilix too close to Obelix

Werner Heuser writes: Yesterday, the "Oberlandesgericht" (highest court of the Bavarian state) has affirmed that the brands "MobiliX" and "Obelix" can indeed be mixed up. The onomatopoetic similarities are big enough that a "normal user" could immediately be thinking of "Obelix" when hearing the word "MobiliX". Whether this a fact for IT people, too, though, was not answered by the court.... But whether the defendant may keep the name of his company (not the brand) depends hightly on the answer to this question. The court has not given a final statement whether there will be claims on information or indemnifications yet. The sentence is expected on December, 19th. An exact analysis will be possible after the basis for the decisions are at hand. Whether the ruling of the OLG Munich will be permanent, is an open question. Lawyers to Mr Werner Heuser, Jaschinski Biere Brexl - JBB, are investigating
possibilities to appeal. At the time it is yet unclear whether the OLG will allow the appeal.

In autumn 2001, the owners of the brand Obelix, Les Edition Albert Rene, have sued Mr Werner Heuser. He is the author of the wellknown website "MobiliX". On this site you can find information about Unix systems on mobile computers. And that is why Mr Heuser had chosen a company and domain name which show these items of the branch by use of both "mobile" and "ix". Therefore he also registered the brand "MobiliX" for the branches software, hardware, and telecommunication.

In the plaintiff's view he was using the onomatopoetic resemblance to the famous brand of "Obelix" to make use this famousness. This argumentation, however, was rejected by the court (OLG Munich) as there is no famous brand named "Obelix" - in contrast to the character "Obelix" in the strip cartoon. However, the court of appeal did see a possible mixup - other than the court of district.

The documentation of the case is available online."


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