Wave of warnings from FILII

The barefoot shoe manufacturer FILII is currently issuing warnings to everything that is not up to scratch

Barefoot shoes are currently a big trend. FILII was one of the first on the market to successfully sell these shoes. Founder Brigitte Weiß - at the time with her husband Thorsten Weiß - was even at the Lion's den and received funding for her start-up there.

However, the marriage has obviously suffered as a result of their success: Thorsten and Brigitte are no longer a couple. Instead, they are now bitter rivals. Meanwhile, Thorsten Weiß has founded bLIFESTYLE GmbH and also successfully sells barefoot shoes.

Numerous Warnings by FILII and Brigitte Weiß

Brigitte Weiß does not want to put up with this. And so it seems that websites offering bLIFESTYLE shoes in particular are being warned on a large scale. We have received three warnings alone and are aware of numerous others. The warnings differ. Some are based on the Trademark law others based on claims arising from the Competition law.

Trademark warnings from FILII

The trademark law allegations were very different:

In one case, the store operator used an automated search function within the site. If you entered "Filii" there, other shoes were displayed in addition to shoes of the brand you were looking for. We suspect that the ex-husband's shoes in particular drove Ms. Weiss to white heat - and a warning letter. This can indeed be a trademark infringement if it is not sufficiently clear which products correspond to the search term and which are only displayed as additional advertising. The backpack manufacturer Ortlieb has successfully sued Amazon for this.

In another case, a store owner wrote in her blog that she would no longer be selling FILII shoes in future, but would be adding bLIFESTYLE to her range instead. At the same time, she had significantly reduced the FILII shoes and only had one shoe left in the store at the time. A bold warning to say the least: most courts would foreseeably have slapped the warning letter around the ears. It is obviously a permitted brand name and not a prohibited brand use.

In both cases, the warning letter was issued alongside the German word/figurative mark and the identical EU trademark

Filii warning

also based on the company logo of the same name.

Warning letters from competition law

In the competition law warning, a store operator had blogged that he was including the shoes of "FILII founder" Thorsten Weiß in his range with the bLIFESTYLE brand. Bettina Weiß, however, insisted on being the sole founder. In fact, she is the sole managing partner of FILII GmbH. However, this was only founded in 2018.

Remember: in 2016, the shoes were already thrown to the lions. If you look at the Web archives you can see that Mr. Thorsten Weiß is named as the sole operator of the online store in the last legal notice recorded in 2017. This warning also deserves a judicial review. Because in our opinion, if Ms. Weiß considers herself to be the sole founder, she must be held responsible for the legal appearance created by the website.

You should take warnings from FILII seriously

Even if some of FILII's warnings are quite bold and probably won't stand up to judicial scrutiny, you shouldn't take your chances: A temporary injunction is quickly applied for and just as quickly issued. And even if the chances of it being lifted are good, you don't want to bear the (significantly increased) cost risk or have to endure the stress and annoyance it causes. Better come to us straight away. We'll take care of it...

Fun fact at the end

The imprint of FILII states: "In the event of disputes concerning the right to a name / domain or warnings against the applicable Distance Selling Act, we ask you to contact us in advance to avoid unnecessary legal disputes and costs. The cost note of a lawyer's warning without prior contact is rejected as unfounded in the sense of the duty to minimize damages.

In the past, several courts have ruled that persons who provide such a notice on their website are not entitled to reimbursement of costs themselves.

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