Weeks after Germany emerged victorious from the World Cup, the country's highest football body is embroiled in a legal battle over its logo that could cost it millions in lost revenue.
The German Football Association DFB may lose the rights to its renowned eagle logo after a supermarket chain complained the body had laid claim to a national symbol, the German Patent and Trademark Office said Wednesday.
The dispute centered on a lawsuit in a regional court in Munich against the supermarket chain Real, which DFB said owed it royalties for selling fan apparel emblazoned with the logo.
"It's about floor mats and fan apparel," a spokeswoman for the court said, noting that a ruling is expected August 7.
Real countered by petitioning Germany's trademark office to revoke the football body's rights to the logo, maintaining the eagle illustration too closely resembled the one found on Germany's federal coat of arms.
Historic symbol or trademark violation?
German trademark law prohibits monopolizing national symbols for financial gain.
"The DFB eagle is a historic fixture of our association's insignia and it is clearly protected," DFB spokesman Ralf Köttker said.
If DFB's trademark is revoked, the body would lose a lucrative source of revenue.
"To use the DFB logo you have to pony up tens of millions of euros," said Frank Dopheide, a brand expert and partner at the consultancy firm Deutsche Markenarbeit. "The eagle is an extremely valuable trademark."
cjc/hg (dpa, AFP)