When you read "Glashütte" on the label, you know it's Glashütte / Glashütte Regulation protects the designation of origin of watches from Saxony

Munich, 14.02.2022: On Friday, the Federal Council adopted the Regulation on the Protection of the Geographical Indication "Glashütte" ("Glashütte Regulation"), which protects the designation of origin "Glashütte" for watches from the Saxon town of Glashütte in the Ore Mountains. With the adoption of the regulation, the protection of the geographical indication "Glashütte" for watches acquires a special status in relation to both EU law and German trademark law. The protection status is comparable to the protection of Swiss watches.

Watchmakers from the Saxon city have been fighting for the Glashütte Regulation for more than 10 years. The regulation describes the origin territory, the term of the watch and defines its manufacture, as far as this is necessary for the authorization of use.

One of the pioneers in competition protection for the geographical indication of source "Glashütte" is Dr. Wolfgang Straub of KLAKA Rechtsanwälte. He has been involved in the lawful use of the designation of origin for more than 30 years. As early as 1992, Straub conducted the first proceedings against a company whose watches in Glashütte only had a value added of around 30 to 40 percent. The ruling of the Munich I Regional Court dated January 27, 1993, established the "Glashütte Rule," according to which 50 percent of the value added must originate from Glashütte for a watch to be labeled in this way (Ref.: 1 HKO 24209/92). The decision has laid the foundation for the regulation that has now been adopted. For more than 20 years, Straub has been assisting a major manufacturer in this important watch industry center and has won further landmark rulings for the designation "Glashütte".

All these rulings, however, established the Glashütte-Rule only between the parties of the lawsuit. This will change when the regulation is published in the Federal Law Gazette. From that moment on, the quality requirements for the use of the Glashütte designation of origin will apply to all producers and distributors of time measuring instruments in Germany.

The Glashütte Regulation is only the second geographical designation of origin, after "Solingen" for knives from Solingen since 1938, whose protection in Germany is specified in a separate regulation. This significantly upgrades the prestige of the "Glashütte" designation. "For the manufacturers from Glashütte, this is a real milestone. The legislature is finally recognizing the special quality of Glashütte watches. This crowning glory for the watch industry in Glashütte places it on a level above other products, far up the scale of Made in Germany," explains Dr. Wolfgang Straub, who closely supported the drafting process of the regulation together with his partner Dr. Carola Onken.

The protection provided by the Glashütte Regulation applies to the whole of Germany. It is effective against any unauthorized use in Germany, i.e. also against abusively labeled imports and national products which do not meet the requirements of place of production and added value. The protection applies even if only a small part of the production should have taken place in Glashütte. Anyone who violates the regulation risks injunctions from competitors (not only from Glashütte) and competition associations.

"For me, this regulation is a crowning achievement of traditional, but always evolving craftsmanship. Its realization proves the success of entrepreneurial efficiency and craftsmanship skills," explains Straub.

The protection of products with a geographical indication of origin is playing an increasingly important role in international competition. In addition to protection under German trademark law, which applies exclusively to Germany, well-known food products in particular are protected by a Europe-wide indication of origin. Whether Aachener Printen, Lübecker marzipan or Bavarian beer, foodstuffs may only be designated as such if they meet the protection criteria. Currently, more than 1.800 foods and beverages with protected designations of origin are registered with the European Commission. In addition, there are more than 1.600 foods and beverages with protected geographical indications.

"In global competition, well-known brand names are often the decisive criterion when buying a branded product. In addition, many consumers want to promote regional manufacturers and traditional artisan products. Moreover, geographical indications often stand for a special product quality. The Glashütte Regulation should encourage other manufacturers of industrial products to establish the protection of geographical origin and also enforce it in the market," emphasizes partner Dr. Carola Onken of KLAKA Rechtsanwälte, who regularly advises and represents a watch manufacturer from Glashütte on the protection of its trademark rights.

Dr. Carola Onken, Lawyer, Partner
KLAKA Attorneys at Law Munich
phone: +49 (89) 99 89 19-0 | email: conken@klaka.com

Dr. Wolfgang Straub, Lawyer, Of Counsel
KLAKA Rechtsanwälte Munich
phone: +49 (89) 99 89 19-0 | email: wstraub@klaka.com