Judges in Switzerland’s Federal Administrative Court have rejected a case seeking to limit the use of the Jägermeister logo on the grounds that it may be offensive to Christian religious sensibilities.
The case was brought by the Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property, which believes that the image might offend consumers if its usage expands beyond alcohol and apparel. The logo features a white cross, radiant with green light, floating between the antlers of a stag.
Originally, the logo was based on a Christian tale. The legend of St. Hubertus tells of a man who preferred hunting to praying and pursued all the pleasures available to an eighth-century Belgian courtier.
One Good Friday, having neglected his church attendance in pursuit of a particularly splendid stag, Hubertus beheld a crucifix suspended between the animal’s antlers and heard the voice of God warning him that, unless he changed his godless ways, he would surely go to Hell. Hubertus heeded the voice and renounced all his wealth to rise through the ranks of the priesthood, ultimately becoming the first Bishop of Liege. He devoted himself in particular to converting the pagans and bandits living in the Ardennes Forest, impressing them with his skill at archery to convince them to give his religious convictions a fair hearing.
To this day, St. Hubertus is considered the patron saint of hunters, hunting dogs, archers, and forest-dwellers. The International Order of St. Hubertus is a knightly organization still in existence today; Ordensbrothers, as they call themselves, are active hunters and fishers who share a commitment to wildlife and habitat conservation.
However, none of this history has much to do with the Jägermeister brand today, beyond the fact that the name Jägermeister translates to “master of hunters” or “hunt’s master.”
The Swiss court agreed, saying that after nearly a century of use, the brand’s logo was far more readily associated with the liqueur than the legend. Use of the image over time had “weakened its religious character,” obscuring its mythic origins.
Consequently, the company is free to use the logo as it pleases in all future endeavors without fear of giving offense. If all goes according to plan, the trademark stag may begin to appear on cosmetics, mobile phones, and in movies and telecommunications projects (following in the footsteps of their 2014 app release, JagerBonds).
(Image via Shutterstock)