Locals and tourists alike descend on Munich’s Theresienwiese on September 17th to kick-off the world’s largest celebration of intellectual property and beer: Oktoberfest . Today Oktoberfest is synonymous with beer, but that was not always the case . The origin of the Oktoberfest dates back to October 1810 to celebrate the marriage of the Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig to Princess Therese of Saxony . The citizens of Bavaria were invited to join in the royal celebration, which boosted horse races, free food and free beer . It is said the locals enjoyed the festivities so much, the royal couple decided to repeat the horse races the following year . While horse races no longer take place, several other important traditions remain and 2016 marks the 183rd Oktoberfest .

Beer and Intellectual Property Meet

Oktoberfest is the largest festival in the world, attracting millions of visitors every year and generating over $1 billion in revenue . Here are some statistics from 2015:

  • Visitors = 5.9 million
  • Litres of beer sold = 7.5 million
  • Energy consumption = 2.88 million kWh

So where do Beer and IP meet at this party ? Easy answer : EVERYWHERE!

From the beer taps to the lighting, from advertisements to the logos printed on the beer glasses . The Oktoberfest is made possible by innovative technology and the strong brands of the Munich breweries . The Oktoberfest grounds are unquestionably ruled and championed by a union of the Munich’s six local breweries . These six breweries are arguably some of the strongest and best-known German brands in the world:

  1. Paulaner Brauerei
  2. Hacker-Pschorr Bräu
  3. Augustiner-Bräü
  4. Löwenbräu
  5. Spaten-Franziskaner Bräu
  6. Hofbräu

Munich’s breweries are known for the high quality beer they brew but are identified by their most visible brand asset: trademarks . Every litre of beer sold on the Wiesn is served in a glass stein with the logo of the brewery printed proudly on it . Together the six breweries own and protect 2,000 trademarks worldwide, of which more than a third of them of them are owned by Löwenbräu .

Hacker-Pschorr Bräu lays claim to owning the oldest trademark amongst the six, with their infamous logo with two axes filed in June 1881 . All of the first trademarks filed by the breweries are still in force today.

1. Hacker-Pschorr Bräu - filed June 8, 1881 see image here.

2. Spaten-Franziskaner Bräu - filed January 1, 1884  see image here.

3.  Löwenbräu - filed February 4, 1886 see image here.

4. Hofbräu - filed September 19, 1889 see image here.

5. Paulaner Brauerei - filed October 1, 1894 see image here.

6.  Augustiner-Bräü - filed May 17, 1901

Law Firms and Beer

The following Munich-based law firms represent the trademarks owned by the local breweries:

  1. Weickmann & Weickmann - representing Paulaner Brauerei, Hacker-Pschorr Bräu, and Augustiner-Bräü
  2. Dr. Kunz-Hallstein - representing Löwenbräu and Spaten-Franziskaner Bräu
  3. Boehmert & Boehmert - representing the Hofbräu (which is owned by the City of Munich)

Even the European Patent Office agrees there would be no Oktoberfest without IP! Over 2,000 patents are at work inside of every Oktoberfest tent (of which 1,800 of them are pertaining to beer taps). Every litre of beer consumed is made possible by the 15-20 European patents protecting it.

It’s all about the beer!

Oktoberfest is admittedly “all about the beer” . As it exists today, Oktoberfest would not be possible without intellectual property, the Munich breweries and the law firms representing their intangible assets . The City of Munich recently applied for the the word mark OKTOBERFEST (EU 015535008) for the second time in June 2016 . The City is represented by Lorenz Seidler Gossel Rechtsanwälte in their application. As per the date of this publication, the application remains pending with the EU IPO .

Beer and IP will continue to meet at the Oktoberfest for many years to come!