An open letter to J. Hornig GmbH


Dear Sir or Madam,




We are a group of 76 independent European coffee roasters and coffee shops. Besides our high-quality standards and coffee quality, we are united through our firm belief that real coffee indulgence can be presumed through commercial fairness. This starts with fair trade and, obviously, includes fair competitions with other businesses in the coffee industry – values in which your company certainly can see itself as well.



Therefore, to our astonishment, we have noticed that your company exclusively trademarked the free label “cold brew” by no more than four trademarks at the European Trademark Office (Trademark numbers: 16265969, 16814253, 17865178 and 17304007). Affected by this are the following product groups: cans made out of metal, cans made out of non-noble metal, drinking vessels made out of metal, bottles, as well as packing carton, cardboard containers and boxes; so containers in which the coffee beverage “cold brew” are being filled or packed.



As you know, “cold brew” is a common and recognized term for a method of preparation of coffee, in which ground coffee is in contact with cold water for a period of a couple of hours. Through this time of contact, different substances of the coffee are being released. This method of preparation goes back to the 17th century Netherlands. At that time “cold brew” was a refreshment in the hot colonies, which is the reason why it is also called Dutch Coffee. Today, “cold brew” is a flagship drink for the slow food movement and is offered by hundreds of roasting houses and beverage producers throughout Europe.



The trademarks therefore, should not have been trademarked and are not going to endure. Due to this background, the fact appears extreme that your company decided to take legal actions on the grounds of the questionable trademarks against the fair use of the term “cold brew.”



An industry, which sees itself as an international mutually supportive group in the field of manual roasting houses and coffeeshops, cannot accept this. The offer to provide an open license that was made by Mister Hornig and Mister Christoph and sent to individuals through private messages is not enough to ensure the legal security of the usage of the term; beside the fact that your company is not legally bound to the statement that was being made.


That is why we determine:


The term “cold brew” is a method of preparation and a term that can be freely used in the coffee culture, which no company can monopolize for itself.


The commercial use of the term “cold brew” for a “cold brew” beverage is allowed to be used by every person in the European Union, even if it is “cold brew” packed or filled in a glass, or in a bottle, or even in a can, a plastic bottle or carton.


Due to the massive interference in our freedom of competition, we are urging you to delete the trademarks that are mentioned above.


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Kommentare: 3
  • #3

    Ryan Wevels (Mittwoch, 25 April 2018 12:44)

    Gerberei Linz

  • #2

    Tom Bell (Mittwoch, 25 April 2018 11:19)

    Cold brew is a brewing method same as espresso, latte or filter coffee. This cannot and should not be trademarked and will damage the industry.

  • #1

    Uschi Zimmermann (Montag, 23 April 2018 05:54)

    Panama Varietals