Tivoli Gardens are not just fun and play
The Danish Tivoli Gardens is more than just rollercoasters and merry-go-rounds. The amusement park is known for being very protective of their trademark, and during the last couple of years Tivoli A/S has been the plaintiff in a number of cases concerning the use of the name “Tivoli”.
Now, once again, Tivoli is on the warpath – this time because of Danish furniture company Montana and their use of the name “Tivoli” for a line of chairs. The case has been ongoing since 2007, but has now come to an end, as the Danish Supreme Court gave their final verdict on the matter this week.
The story began in 1955, where the famous Danish furniture designer Verner Panton designed 200 chairs for Tivoli. The chairs were used in a restaurant in the Tivoli Gardens. The chair became quite popular, and was known as the “Tivoli chair”.
In 2004 Montana wanted to relaunch the “Tivoli chair” in a set of new colours, and after obtaining the required permission from the Panton family, the production of the chair began.
In connection with the relaunch, Montana asked Tivoli to share their story on the “Tivoli chair”, as Montana thought it would be nice to feature the original story in the relaunch. Tivoli, however, was not interested in this – instead they declared that they had the sole right to use to name “Tivoli”. To avoid future problems Montana agreed to negotiate a licensing agreement, but a final agreement was never reached, as the parties could not agree on a licensing fee.
Because of the lack of an agreement with Tivoli, Montana was (in the beginning) cautious in their use of the name “Tivoli chair”. But in 2005 Tivoli lost a case before the Danish Maritime and Commercial Court, where a local bakery won a case against Tivoli, as Tivoli had acted to slow. Tivoli had waited around 2 years to file the suit against the bakery, and according to the Danish Trademark Act § 9 such proceedings must take place within “reasonable time”. As the court found that two years was not within reasonable time, the bakery could continue the use of the word "Tivoli".
After the 2005-verdict Montana felt more secure in their rights, seeing as the “Tivoli chair” name had been used for much longer than two years, and they started using the original name again. This, of course, was not applauded by Tivoli, who brought charges against the furniture company.
Both the Danish Maritime and Commercial Court and the Danish Supreme Court found that Tivoli had not lost their right to act against Montana, and that Montana’s use of the name “Tivoli chair” was in deed an infringement of the Tivoli trademark. The court said that Montanta had indeed remained passiv within the meaning of the Danish Trademark Act § 9, but only in realaation to the distribution of the original “Tivoli chair” back in 1955-1965 – not in realation to the relaunch.
When relaunching the chair in 2004, Montana had no rights to use the original name – and their use of the trademarked name was therefore a violation of Tivoli’s rights.
The court awarded Tivoli remuneration for a total amount of 2 million DKK. The amount was based on Tivoli’s normal licensing fee used in similar agreements. On top of that, Montana had to pay 300.000 DKK in legal costs, and they were required to publish the court’s decision on their webpage. Montana has recently announced that the “Tivoli chair” from now on will be known as “Panton One”.