German court says lampooning neo-Nazis is okay

Wed Aug 11, 2010 11:03am EDT
 
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article
[-] Text [+]

BERLIN (Reuters Life!) - A German court ruled on Wednesday in favor of a left-wing politician who lampooned the Thor Steinar clothing line that is associated with right-wing extremists.

A court in Nuremberg rejected a complaint from clothing label Mediatex, which produces the Thor Steinar merchandise, against Matthias Brodkorb, a Social Democrat Party member of the state assembly in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.

The company had said Brodkorb had illegally used their trademark with his satirical clothing line called "Storch Heinar" -- which mocked their own "Thor Steinar" clothing line.

"There is no danger that 'Storch Heinar' would get confused with 'Thor Steinar'," the court said. "The plaintiff's trademarks and products have neither been disparaged nor defamed by the defendant."

The logo of Storch Heinar, which translates as a stork named Heinar, features a disheveled-looking stork with a Hitler mustache and parodies the Germanic aesthetics which characterize many Thor Steinar products.

The judge also ruled that Brodkorb's satire was protected by the German constitution's provisions on freedom of speech.

"We're really please by the verdict," Brodkorb was quoted telling Der Spiegel's website. "But we're a little worried about our stork Heinar. In a rush of victory, he has proclaimed that he now wants to finally achieve fashion-world-domination!"

(Reporting by Max Chrambach; editing by Paul Casciato)