Devine Goodman has won an important victory for our client, owner of the famous “SOLINGEN” certification mark found on the finest German cutlery.
Devine Goodman lawyers Guy Rasco and Lawrence Goodman joined with Mayback & Hoffman managing partner, Catherine Hoffman, to represent the Chamber of Industry and Commerce Wuppertal-Solingen-Remschied, the German trade association that owns and promotes the world-renowned certification mark. They secured a consent permanent injunction against defendants including Martha Stewart, Emeril Lagasse and their respective companies to prevent them from using the mark in the future. Although Defendants did not admit liability, a Tampa federal judge issued the consent permanent injunction, prohibiting, the defendants – who included the Home Shopping Network and SED International Holdings Inc. – from, among other things, using the “SOLINGEN” certification mark without prior written authorization from the Chamber and selling or making any product that does not comply with the strict conditions of the SOLINGEN certification standards.
“This is a huge victory for our client,” said Hoffman, a Mayback & Hoffman founding partner. “Our client’s certification mark identifies only the highest quality products made in Solingen, Germany, and we will do whatever it takes to protect that reputation, which includes Solingen’s world-famous reputation as the ‘Cutlery Capital.’ We hope this settlement sends a strong message to anyone attempting to profit from improperly certifying products with the SOLINGEN mark.”
“Certification Marks, like trademarks, are a sign to consumers that they are getting what they paid for,” said Rasco. “This ruling lets consumers – and would-be infringers – know that courts will protect those marks.”
Only products made in Solingen, Germany, and which satisfy the strict requirements set forth in German law under the “Solingen Decree,” may bear the SOLINGEN mark. Despite these requirements, the Amended Complaint alleged that Stewart’s and Lagasee’s companies marketed a Lagasse product line that sold knives, made in China of inferior steel using the SOLINGEN mark through the Home Shopping Network. As part of the consent permanent injunction and a settlement agreement, the defendants admitted that the trademark is valid and enforceable and agreed to pay the German trade association an undisclosed sum.