Bavaria has lost a long-standing lawsuit over the naming rights to the Free State’s most famous castle: a hotel in Nesselwang, 24 kilometers away, will continue to be allowed to use “Neuschwanstein” in its name. After the oral hearing on Thursday, the Munich Higher Regional Court dismissed the lawsuit against the hotel in an appeal.

Bavaria wanted to force the “Explorer Hotel Neuschwanstein” to no longer be allowed to use the name of the castle. Because Bavaria has had this trademark protected by the German Patent and Trademark Office (DPMA).

Judges see no violation of rights

The lawsuit was primarily aimed at the fact that “Neuschwanstein” is not an ancestral place name, but exclusively the name of the fairytale castle that is now run as a museum. The presiding judge, Andreas Müller, spoke of a “fantasy designation conceived for the castle at the end of the 19th century”. Therefore, the Free State’s attorneys argued that the use of “Neuschwanstein” in the hotel’s name was a “corporate identifier violation.”

However, the judges do not assume that the word “Neuschwanstein” in the hotel name violates the rights of the Free State or the Castle Museum, nor do they see any risk of confusion or misleading hotel guests.

The Senate sees the use of “Neuschwanstein” in the hotel name as “descriptive” and not a violation of a company’s rights, as Müller made clear. In the first instance, the hotel had lost. The name “Neuschwanstein” has been the subject of legal disputes in the past. According to the castle administration, two procedures are still running.