A court in Switzerland has ruled in favor of herbal liqueur producer Jägermeister amid a complaint that its logo is offensive to Christians.
The alcoholic drink originated in Germany in 1935 and is sold in its signature green glass bottle that includes the company’s logo. The logo features a glowing white cross positioned between the antlers of a male deer.
The logo is reportedly based on the legend of Catholic Saint Hubertus. Hubertus was an eighth-century Belgian who, according to legend, was led to conversion after he took up an extended hunt when his wife died and saw a glowing crucifix between the antlers of a deer.
Jägermeister faced a legal challenge brought by the Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property. The agency claimed that the company’s logo could be considered offensive to some residents of Switzerland, a predominantly-Christian country.
The government agency has reportedly blocked attempts by the German company to expand its trademark to be used on items outside of bottles and clothing.
Swiss Broadcasting Corporation’s online news platform SwissInfo.ch reports that judges at the federal administrative court in St. Gallen rejected the agency’s request to restrict the use of the Jägermeister logo to only clothing and bottles.
The court concluded that the logo is not offensive because the average customer associates the logo with the liqueur. The court reasoned that the logo’s “intensive” use by Jägermeister over the years has “weakened its religious character” to the extent that no one is likely to be offended by it.
The ruling enables Jägermeister to use the logo for all of its promotional products in Switzerland. According to SwissInfo, Jägermeister can now put its logos on products like cell phones, cosmetics, and telecommunication services.
A Jägermeister spokesperson told the World Intellectual Property Review that the court approved the trademark “in all classes that we applied for.”
“We’ve been using this logo for decades,” the spokesperson stated.
Saint Hubertus is known as the patron saint of hunters and was the first bishop of Liege. According to CatholicSaints.com, Hubertus evangelized the Ardenne region of France and converted pagans.
Hubertus was also said to have predicted the date of his own death and died while reciting the Lord’s Prayer.
“The legendary Hubertus stag stands guard proudly over his golden treasury of Oak and Pine,” the Jägermeister website explains.
The Telegraph reports that when translated into English, the poem on the bottle's label reads: “It is the hunter’s honor that he protects and preserves his game, hunts sportsmanlike, honors the creator in his creatures.”