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Thursday, 22 July 2010

Neo-Nazi clothing label case doomed from the start (germany)

The Thor Steinar clothing label, popular among neo-Nazis, has all but lost its case against mock-brand “Storch Heinar” – a left-wing satirical label – after a Nuremberg judge warned late Wednesday that much of the complaint was unfounded.

Thor Steinar’s manufacturer, Media Tex, vowed nonetheless to press on with its case, which is due to be settled August 11.

The satirical version, featuring a stork with a silly Hitler-style moustache and haircut, is the work of the Social Democratic activist organisation Endstation Rechts, which aims to fight right-wing extremism in the state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania.

Its shirts, which have sold well since being launched in 2008, also bear mocking anti-fascist slogans such as “Der Führer had only one egg.”

MediaTex, however, believes its brand is being damaged and its products ridiculed, and is therefore suing Endstation Rechts in Nuremberg.

But at the very beginning of the hearing, judge Horst Rottmann said there was not sufficient similarity between the stork and the Thor Steinar logo, which was therefore not being damaged.

The same went for the names: “Stork” and “Thor” aroused completely different associations, Rottmann said.

Rottmann also gave the Storch Heinar label latitude on artistic freedom grounds, pointing out that the intent of founder Mathias Brodkorb, an MP for the centre-left Social Democrats in the Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania was satire, not to make a profit.

The Local Germany