the Cologne Cathedral Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996

German court refuses to protect “Cologne Cathedral” as a trademark for the Catholic Church

The Cathedral Chapter, while expressing regret over the decision, views this development as an opportunity to underscore the true essence of the Gothic monument. Father Guido Assmann, the cathedral’s rector, believes that this decision will safeguard the cathedral from being commodified into a mere advertising object.

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(ZENIT News / Cologne, 01.18.2024).- In a surprising turn of events, the Federal Court of Justice in Germany has ruled against protecting the Cologne Cathedral as a registered trademark. This decision marks a departure from the trend of iconic landmarks being associated with commercial branding, granting the Cologne Cathedral a unique status.

The Cathedral Chapter, while expressing regret over the decision, views this development as an opportunity to underscore the true essence of the Gothic monument. Father Guido Assmann, the cathedral’s rector, believes that this decision will safeguard the cathedral from being commodified into a mere advertising object.

Assmann expressed concern over how people, without understanding the cathedral’s true importance, had used it as a symbol for their products, overlooking its profound cultural and spiritual value. However, he remained optimistic, stating that efforts would persist in highlighting the religious and cultural significance of the cathedral, irrespective of commercial associations.

The application to trademark the cathedral’s name was submitted in 2018 to the German Patent and Trademark Office. The aim was to secure the name “Cologne Cathedral” as a protected brand. Unfortunately, authorities rejected the request, asserting that names cannot be protected unless directly linked to the manufacturer of a product.

This decision is expected to allow the Cologne Cathedral, with its grandiose towers and rich history, to remain free from the constraints of commercial branding. It emerges as a symbol of cultural freedom, signaling a departure from the practice of landmarks being tied to corporate identities. The Catholic Church, despite potential drawbacks, welcomes this outcome.

Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996, the Cologne Cathedral has endured the test of time and passing trends. Visitors can now appreciate it for what it truly represents—a monument that transcends commercial interests and encapsulates the essence of history and faith.

 

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Joachin Meisner Hertz

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