Published in the “Bundesanzeiger” on 25.06.1985
Since time immemorial the term Kölsch has been a Protected Geographical Indication for a blond, top-fermented, bright and hops-accentuated full-bodied beer which was brewed according to the Reinheitsgebot. The term has been accepted and approved by the relevant consumers and business communities involved, administrative authorities and courts as well as in intergovernmental treaties. In the meeting of members the “Kölner Brauerei-Verband e.V.” (Cologne Brewery Assosiation) decided unanimously for the following code of competition with the aim to protect the term Kölsch as a Protected Geographical Indication, foster a behaviour according to the principles of fair trade, to work against unfair competition in correlation with the term Kölsch, especially the danger of the intend to mislead, confusion and dilution and misuse of the designation of origin. The code of competition has been approved by the Federal Cartel Office and is therefore obliging for all members of the “Kölner Brauerei-Verband”.
Designation of origin
(1)The term Kölsch is a Protected Geographical Indication.
(2)The term Kölsch is only allowed to be used for a blond, top-fermented, bright and hops-accentuated full-bodied beer which was brewed according to the Reinheitsgebot in the area of origin of Kölsch. The area of origin is municipal Cologne plus all the breweries outside municipal Cologne which acquired their vested right with the term Kölsch before this code of competition came into effect.
Avoidance of intents to mislead, confusion and dilution
(1) The manner of the usage of the term Kölsch may neither be for the intent of mislead, confusion or dilution of the term. Nor may it be used in a fashion that violates the law against unfair competition.
(2) The term Kölsch may not be linked with additions which dilute the geographic designation of origin (e.g. Original Kölsch, Kölsch from Cologne, Real Kölsch) or other geographic additions (e.g. Rhine Kölsch) or in combination with other terms, brands, labels, companies, acronyms, beer brands, beer styles and other additions which directly or indirectly influence a mislead or confusion about the designation of origin (e.g. Top-Kölsch, Super-Kölsch, PREMIUM-Kölsch) or violate the law against unfair competition in any other way. If it is necessary for legal reasons to name the place of brewing, because the brewery is not situated in municipal Cologne for reasons according to §1 passage 2 sentence 3, it has to be done in a fashion that dos not foster a mislead or confusion about the designation of origin.
Containers, packaging and advertisement
(1) The Containers (e.g. bottles, kegs, cans) of beer which are distributed with the term Kölsch according to §1 have to be labelled clearly with the term Kölsch. In doing so the term Kölsch has to be clearly recognizable within the overall front impression. For casks and kegs see passage 3.
(2) Passage 1 applies accordingly to packaging (e.g. crates, covering boxes) if they are labelled. If a crate only carries the brewery’s name, the term Kölsch has to be added.
(3) Casks and kegs have to be labelled with the company name or an abbreviation of the rightfully producing brewery according to §1 passage 2. The unauthorized usage of foreign kegs is not permitted. Sentence 2 is not valid if there is a written permission of the brewery owning the kegs. In case of sentence 3, the kegs have to additionally be labelled with the producing company as well as the brand name of the Kölsch filled in the kegs.
(4) All containers and packages must not lead to a mislead or confusion about the designation of origin due to the way, form, colour or any other reason. Sentence 1 is also valid for the form and design of all glasses in which Kölsch I being served.
(5) Passages 1 through 4 are valid accordingly for all advertising media used for the distribution of Kölsch (e.g. advertisements, beer mats, menus, labelling of vehicles and buildings, radio, tv and cinema spots). Sentence 1 is not valid if a qualified reason can be given.
(6) The producers of Kölsch will foster to their personal possible extend that Kölsch is only served in the so-called “Kölsch-Stange” (a special type of glass). If the “Kölsch-Stange is labelled, passage 1 comes into effect.
Remittance brewing contracts
Remittance brewing contracts are only allowed to be concluded by breweries which belong to the place of origin of Kölsch (§1 pass. 2)
Kölsch is only to be put in circulation using brands owned by the producing and delivering brewery according to §1 pass. 2. Is the filling facilitated by the purchaser, the delivering brewery needs to take care that this code of competition is being stuck to, especially §§ 2, 3, 5 and 6.
Information on rights of sale
If a purchaser’s rights of sale are supposed to be indicated, the producing company according to §1 pass. 2 has to be clearly pointed out as well (e.g. Sole Distributor: Brewery X; brewed by Brewery Y, Cologne). The indication of the purchaser’s rights of sale must not be accentuated by type or size of the font, placement or colour. §5 applies.
No other usage by third parties
Third parties who are not legitimate, according to this code of competition, to use the term Kölsch, are not to be permitted to use the term; neither in an island position nor in any other combination or in any other way, neither explicitly nor implicitly.
The members of the Cologne Brewery Association accept the following obligations: a) to comply with the terms of this code of competition, especially to only use the term Kölsch according to this code of competition – b) to inform the Cologne Brewery Association about any violation of this code of competition, especially misleading and improper use of the term Kölsch – c) to comply with the terms of the constitution towards the geographic association mark “Kölsch” – d) to do everything in order to foster and protect the good reputation of the term Kölsch
Rights and duties of the Cologne Brewery Association
(1) The Cologne Brewery Association is authorized and obliged: a) to monitor the compliance of this code of competition – b) to see to it that the term Kölsch be documented as a geographic association mark – c) to override any unauthorized use of the term Kölsch, and to override any disturbance or damnification of the term Kölsch.
(2) The Cologne Brewery Association establishes a permanent board which gives advice to how comply with this code of competition.
(3) ) In case of reasonable cause for the assumption that a member of the Cologne Brewery Association has violated the code of competition in a contract/contracts, according to §§ 4 to 7, the Cologne Brewery Association is authorized and obliged to have these contracts scrutinised by an independent third party, by profession sworn to secrecy. The members are obliged to hand out the original contracts for inspection. The inspecting party has to hand in to the Cologne Brewery Association a written report with the results of the inspection including all relevant facts for an appraisal towards the compliance of §§ 4 to 7.
Violations against the code of competition
(1) Members of the Cologne Brewery Association who violate the code of competition will have to face measures according to passage 2.
(2) Measures in terms of passage 1 are: a) a warning – b) a written warning – c) a reprehension – d) contract penalty – e) the exclusion from the Cologne Brewery Association. The contract penalty is to be set between one thousand and two thousand five hundred DEM. If beer was labelled falsely, the penalty may be raised between one and thirty DEM per hectolitre involved. For the determination of the contract penalty the severity and duration of the violation, extent of the guilt as well as potential rightless competitive advantages need to be considered. The arbitration board (§13) is authorised to inspect the members’ output and turnover reports or to make estimations. The contract penalty is to be paid out to the Cologne Brewery Association.
(3) The measures according to passage 2 are to be named that way. They can be imposed parallel. Further titles, especially on omission and amends, stay untouched.
Measures by the board of directors and the meeting of members
(1) Measures according to §10 pass. 2 a) to c) are imposed by the board of directors of the Cologne Brewery Association, if the board does not forward the matter to the arbitration board (§13) or to an ordinary court. Decisions of the board a irrevocable.
(2) The measure according to §10 pass. 2 e) is imposed by adjudication through the meeting of members of the Cologne Brewery Association in a fixed majority decision.
(3) If a member charges another member to have possibly violated this code of competition, and if the board of directors does not open a procedure within one month, after the member handed in a written request, then the member is entitled to call the permanent board (§9 pass. 2). The permanent board will involve the managing director within one month. In this case the permanent board is obliged to pass on the matter to the arbitration board, putting §13 pass. 2 in effect.
Rules for measure imposing procedures
(1) If a member of the board is affected or somehow prejudiced, he or she must not take part in the procedure concerning the imposition of measures.
(2) The member, against whom a measure is to be imposed, must be informed about the opening of a procedure with a remark on §15 by the managing director of the Cologne Brewery Association in written form. The member is to be heard in written or by word of mouth. He or she can demand a hearing within one month after the receipt of the notification.
(1) An arbitration board is concerned with the imposition of measure according to §10 2 a) to d) if a measure is not imposed by the board of directors according to §11 or if an ordinary court is not called in according to §15. The arbitration board is an abitral court in the sense of the civil process order’s tenth book. The arbitration board consists of an independent chairperson and two assessors. The chairperson has to have the competency of a judge. He or she must not be or have been a member, institution, employee or co-worker of the Cologne Brewery Association or an institution, employee or co-worker of a member of the Cologne Brewery Association or work or have worked for the Cologne Brewery Association in any other way.
(2) The assessors may be members, in institutions, employees or co-workers of the Cologne Brewery Association. When forwarding a matter to the arbitration board, the board of directors have to inform the member concerned with a registered letter naming one assessor in the letter. The registered letter has to include the demand to name another assessor within one month after notification. The registered letter is to be considered as notification of the opening of the procedure according to §12 pass. 2. The assessors chose the chairperson within another month. If the assessors cannot agree on a chairperson or if an assessor has not yet been named or if an assessor has ceased to apply and has not yet been replaced, then the chairperson or the missing assessor is to be determined by the president of the chamber of commerce Cologne.
Rules for arbitration board procedures
(1) §12 is valid for the arbitration board accordingly. A member of the arbitration board can be dismissed because of prejudice, if one of §§41 and 42 in the civil process order is the case.
(2) The assessors receive an adequate attendance fee. The amount is to be determined in the meeting of members of the Cologne Brewery Association. The chairperson receives one or several “20/10-fee” according to the federal scale of fees for solicitors, measured on grounds of the amounts in dispute which are determined by the arbitration board.
(3) Except for the decision about the matter, the arbitration board has to determine in its award the payment for cost and expenses as well as to determine which party is obliged to pay or to which proportion they have to be paid.
(4) The county court Cologne is responsible for the escrow of the award and all other matters in the procedure which call for an ordinary court.
(5) Moreover, the rules of the civil process order’s tenth book are valid for the whole procedure executed by the arbitration board.
Freedom of choice
(1) The board of directors can call an ordinary court instead of forwarding a matter to an arbitration court. The member in question has the choice to let the matter be decided through the board of directors, the arbitration board respectively or an ordinary court.
(2) If the member in question objects the decision made by the board of directors or the arbitration board, he or she has to give the board of directors a written notification within one month after the receipt of the notification about the opening of the procedure.
(3) In case of a choice for the ordinary court, only the county court Cologne is competent. In all other cases the arbitration board’s award is valid and has the status of a legally binding adjudication.
Court of jurisdiction
Unless the arbitration board is competent for disputes concerning this code of competition, it is the county court Cologne who is competent and responsible for disputes concerning this code of competition.