Statement from ESA on Suzuki Trademark in Germany
SUZUKI TRADEMARK IN GERMANY
The following statement is currently on the website of the Deutsche Suzuki Gesellschaft e.V. (DSG)
“In Germany the name Suzuki in the music education sector is no longer protected by trademark law and may be freely used by ANYONE. This was decided by the Federal Patent Court on 2nd July 2013. Contrary reports are invalidated by this supreme court decision, which can no longer be challenged.” (source: https://www.germansuzuki.de/?page_id=2107)
The European Suzuki Association's (ESA) position is still that, based on the trademark registered by the International Suzuki Association (ISA) in Germany and the European Union, the ISA is the owner of this trademark and only organisations and individuals affiliated to the ISA can be granted the use of the name “SUZUKI”.
Since the DSG has not been an affiliate member of the ESA since 2012, the use of the name SUZUKI for their activities (teacher training and alike) and as a description of their legal entities supposedly is a trademark infringement.
The International Suzuki Association has been informed and are considering what legal steps are appropriate to take.
Meanwhile, all the national Suzuki associations should be reminded of the ISA’s statement from the Board Meeting in 2013:
“The ISA is the owner, by assignment from Dr Suzuki, of his worldwide copyright in his musical works and instructional materials and his worldwide trademark of the rights for the name Suzuki issued in connection with such materials and education programs and services. As such, the ISA expects its members (the regional associations, as well as the regional associations’ members), and others, to accept unconditionally the ISA’s ownership of the name Suzuki, Suzuki Method™ and the like, as Dr Suzuki intended. No individual or organisation may attempt to register their own rights (for example, trademark) to the Suzuki name with any governmental authority. Therefore, the ISA strongly supports the ESA in keeping its formal relationship to any individual or organisation making such attempts to a minimum.”