The court in Den Bosch rejected a demand from the American fast food chain Wendy’s to ban the snack bar from Goes from using the name in the Benelux. This means that it is still not possible for the American Wendy’s to register the brand here and open branches.
The case has been going on for years. Wendy’s, whose first branch was opened in Ohio in 1969, is a superpower in many countries and is in the list of well-known snack restaurants such as McDonald’s, Burger King and Kentucky Fried Chicken. The company has more than 6500 branches and would like to make the switch to Europe.
However, Wendy’s in Goes established the right to the name for the Benelux in 1995. The daughter of snack bar owner Raymond Warrens is called Wendy, which he thought was a logical choice when it was founded in 1988.
In 2000, the American fast food giant filed its first lawsuit. The Americans thought that the small Goese Wendy’s had to choose another name and transfer the trademark right. The arguments: Wendy’s in Goes only had one branch and does not advertise outside Zeeland either. The trademark would not be used normally and so the right to the trademark had to expire.
However, the lawsuit was lost and also in a new lawsuit in 2017, the judge chose the chance of the small snack bar. In the appeal to that case, the Court of Appeal again ruled in favor of the Dutch snack bar.
“The snack bar normally uses the name on the fast food market. The name is also on the shirts, facade, receipts and snack bags,” said the judge. The highest court further stated: “It is not a requirement for normal use that a neighborhood snack bar has multiple branches or is promoted outside the region.”
At both Wendy’s in Goes and Wendy’s in America, no one could immediately respond to the verdict.