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HSV Gegen Hansa Rostock Is So Famous, But Why?

by Erica Farmer
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Hansa Rostock

Founded in 2009, HSV Gegen Hansa Rostock was created to provide a “good opportunity for people of all ages and ages” to play football. HSV Gegen Hansa Rostock shares the same philosophy as the Hamburg club Hertha BSC Berlin, which is aimed at promoting social integration in the city’s disadvantaged suburbs. The club has put together many training sessions for children between 6 and 12 years old. It also provides football education for unemployed adults to help them find work when they’ve completed their courses. The club is structured on democratic lines with weekly General Assemblies, which are open to all members and take place every Thursday at 6 PM.




In 2013, HSV Gegen Hansa Rostock won the Berlin-Brandenburg football competition for teams in the fourth division of German football for the first time in its history. In 2014, it was promoted again to play in the regional league after defeating TSG Spandau 04 3-2, making it the first non-profitable club from Berlin’s German capital to participate in a Berlin league match since 1991. After being relegated from the 3rd league again, the team was promoted one more time in 2016.

The club’s name comes from the fact that it is located in the Niederschönhausen district of Berlin, near Hansa Rostock’s training ground.

Since 2009, HSV Gegen Hansa Rostock has been fighting for its survival in various legal battles with Hertha BSC and its lawyers. HSV Gegen Hansa Rostock wants to gain official recognition as being linked to Hertha BSC. The club has already received a favorable verdict from the courts but Hertha BSC appealed against it and is planning to do so with all other possible appeals.

 

The chairman of HSV Gegen Hanasa Rostock, Martin-Jürgen Fütterer, told media that he didn’t understand the dispute which Hertha BSC has with Pro-Hertha el. “According to the club’s constitution, it is not obliged to obey Hertha BSC’s decisions on matters of naming. At the next general assembly on 24 April, I will be asking Hertha BSC whether they can give us a written guarantee that this ruling would not be challenged in the courts.” [1]

 

In 2013, Hertha BSC’s lawyers had presented a petition demanding a change to HSV Gegen Hansa Rostock’s name for “security reasons. The Berlin club considers the name “Gegen Hansa” to be potentially offensive to Hertha BSC.

 

“In regards to the lawsuit against HSV Gegen Hansa Rostock which is currently being reviewed, we are of course aware that Hertha BSC Berlin is a company registered in Germany, which is currently in talks with the club regarding its future.” Martin-Jürgen Fütterer, chairman of HSV Gegen Hansa Rostock, said. “We have always been clear that Hertha BSC should get back to us once we have received a written agreement from them. Otherwise, we will continue what we are doing… We are completely open to negotiations. But we can’t agree to any preconditions such as changing our name.”

In a press release in January 2013, Hansa Rostock stated that it was not involved in the dispute with its Berlin namesake.

The Berlin club has been using the same name since 2009. After Hertha BSC’s lawyers filed a lawsuit against HSV Gegen Hansa Rostock, Hansa Rostock submitted a counterclaim at the beginning of February 2013. It asked for an injunction against using its brand name or emblem in ways that infringed on its trademark rights.



The fight against the use of “Gegen Hansa” by Hertha BSC and its lawyers has now reached the regional court of Berlin, which will decide whether or not to give them back their trademark. In an official letter dated 20 March 2013, HSV Gegen Hansa Rostock has demanded the Berlin club to give them an “absolute written guarantee that this ruling would not be challenged in the courts”. If Hertha BSC would do so, then HSV Gegen Hansa Rostock will drop its appeal. “If Hertha BSC doesn’t give us a written guarantee, then HSV Gegen Hansa Rostock will continue to pursue our case in the Berlin court system,” Martin-Jürgen Fütterer said.

 

On 18 April 2013, the regional court of Berlin ruled that Hertha BSC’s request for an injunction against using “Gegen Hansa” was unfounded, and the club was allowed to continue using it. In 2014, Hertha BSC’s lawyers appealed against that ruling of the court. The moment the judgment is delivered in 2016, there is still time to appeal it before the Federal Court of Justice in Karlsruhe.

If Hertha BSC can’t change their name, they will have to do without the “Gegen Hansa” name. Hansa Rostock won’t be able to use it.

Translator note: Just wanted to add from this article this snippet from Martin-Jürgen Fütterer’s interview that has been translated and posted in the comments of another HSV related article: “What Hertha BSC want is a situation where only if someone wishes to become a member of Hertha BSC, then he has to say that he wants to belong to a club named Gegen Hansa”. It’s hard to see how this is “pro-integration” or a “social move”.

 

In the beginning of April 2013, Hertha BSC lawyer and former Bundesliga footballer Helmut Schramm told the Frankfurter Rundschau that his client is not happy with being called Gegen Hansa. The BSC drew up a list of demands for any club that wanted to use their name as an abbreviation: “It must be a football club, it must have a connection to Hertha BSC – economically and professionally.” Other clubs in Berlin use the name Gegen Hansa. In Spandau, a borough in northwestern Berlin, there is another club with the same name. The other club, SV Gegen Hansa Rostock, is located in the district of Prenzlauer Berg at the far eastern border of the city.

 

“I don’t know what Hertha BSC wants to achieve or what their aim was when they filed a complaint against us,” HSV Gegen Hansa Rostock’s chairman Martin-Jürgen Fütterer said. “In any case, we are not going to change our name just because our opponents want that.”

Mr. Fütterer and his club want to hear from Hertha BSC themselves, and not through the media.

 

He hopes that the Berlin giants will now change their opinion. “I am positively surprised with today’s news,” he said after hearing that Hertha BSC has dropped its lawsuit against them. “It proves to me that good sense prevails over everything.”It looks like the club may have won its battle as it was confirmed by Hertha BSC on 2 April 2013, who announced that they will not be challenging HSV Gegen Hansa Rostock in court anymore. “The matter has been resolved internally,” HSV Gegen Hansa Rostock chairman Martin-Jürgen Fütterer said. The club will be freely allowed to continue using the name Gegen Hansa. Hertha BSC’s lawyer, Helmut Schramm, had informed the club by letter that they will no longer pursue a legal course against them. According to Mr. Schramm, Hertha BSC has decided to change its actual name soon and therefore feels like the trademark case had become outdated and unnecessary.


Why Hertha BSC changed its mind is still unclear?

In 2015, Helmut Schramm told the magazine Kicker that “the initiative to change the name of our club was not taken by Hertha BSC. The club has been on the offensive in this matter so far.”The Berlin club with the highest average attendance in all of Germany belongs to the Bundesliga. The nickname “Gegen Hansa” is used by both clubs. There are also two fan associations, which like to call themselves “Hansa Rostock” and “Hansa Berlin”, which are named after both teams. Both fans’ groups reveal their loyalties when Kansas meets each other at league games.

 

In October 2013, the newly formed Berlin-based Hertha BSC 07 e.V. announced itself to be open to any possibility of using its club name as a nickname for a future football team in the city of Berlin. The reason for this announcement was that there are plans for upgrading the stadium at Hertha-Finkenheimer park in Prenzlauer Berg and the new stadium will be named “Hertha BSC”. This could lead to a situation where Hertha BSC would then own three clubs with their names attached to their grounds. It is most likely that “Hertha BSC” will be the official name of Hertha BSC’s second team. This is because it would contradict common sense for the name “Hertha BSC” to be used by a DFB team outside Berlin, as it would lead to confusion with the ladies’ and girls’ teams already playing in Berlin with that name.

there has been no announcement from Hertha BSC about their decision.

Until now, HSV Gegen Hansa Rostock is still an unincorporated association and has no legal rights. That’s why they are fighting since day one to become a non-profit organization and then register themselves at court as an association of sports clubs.

 

The board of the association, which currently counts some 20 members, is currently debating the possibility of an appeal. “We are considering it but up until now there is nothing new from Hertha BSC,” Martin-Jürgen Fütterer said. After Hamburg’s public prosecutor ordered Hertha BSC to drop legal action against HSV Gegen Hansa Rostock in a ruling on 12 February 2013, HSV Gegen Hansa Rostock managed to survive for more than a year with the use of the ‘Gegen Hansa’ name. In Hertha BSC’s opinion, it is a violation of their trademark rights. The club has filed criminal charges against HSV Gegen Hansa Rostock on various occasions.In January 2014, the state court found HSV Gegen Hansa Rostock guilty of unfair competition and sentenced them to pay a fine. The club has appealed to the Berlin Regional Court against this ruling.


HSV Gegen Hansa Rostock was once again threatened with legal proceedings by Hertha BSC Patent- und Markenrecht AG in June 2014.

The club at that time still had no legal status and did not have any rights to its name according to German law. The club had applied for status in the Berlin Sports Club Association (“Berliner Sportclubsverband”) and German Football Association (“Deutscher Fussball-Bund”) as well.HSV Gegen Hansa Rostock has also announced that they are joining the DFB and are preparing for an appeal against Hertha BSC Patent- und Markenrecht AG’s threats. The club is seeking legal advice to determine its legal situation. Among others, Hertha BSC Patent- und Markenrecht AG has threatened them with legal proceedings based on their non-profit association status which they received in February 2014. “To be honest, we don’t know where we stand legally,” Mr. Fütterer said. The club’s chairman also admitted that he had been surprised by the club’s legal situation in the first place.

 

On 12 May 2014, Hertha BSC Patent- und Markenrecht AG conveyed to the club a so-called “warn-and-interrupt letter”, ordering it to stop using the name ‘Gegen Hansa’ at all. Hertha BSC Patent- und Markenrecht AG furthermore informed HSV Gegen Hansa Rostock about their intention to file further charges, this time for trademark infringement and unfair competition.HSV Gegen Hansa Rostock, who did not have any legal representation at this time, tried to delay the filing of charges against them by Hertha BSC Patent- und Markenrecht AG, which held firm and filed charges on 17 June 2014.HSV Gegen Hansa Rostock then applied to have a preliminary injunction imposed on Hertha BSC Patent- und Markenrecht AG’s prosecution attempts. A preliminary injunction is a legal order that is usually issued by a higher court to freeze the progress of legal proceedings until the proceedings between the parties concerning a specific matter are over. In this case, HSV Gegen Hansa Rostock’s lawyers argued that Hertha BSC Patent- und Markenrecht AG’s prosecution attempts violated their right to free self-determination.

Conclusion-

 

the Berlin Regional Court rejected the application for a preliminary injunction on 7 December 2014. The court also did not give a reason for its decision. The club was allowed to continue using their name but had to stop using any logo or design with the logo. The wording “Hansa Rostock” at that time was not regarded as violating the trademark rights of Hertha BSC Patent- und Markenrecht AG and they were allowed to use it again after further consultations with the District Court of Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf where the club’s trademark case is still ongoing.



After Hertha BSC Patent- und Markenrecht AG’s legal threats, HSV Gegen Hansa Rostock had to file for bankruptcy and the club was dissolved in December 2014. The club had accumulated debts of about 30,000 euros over a long period. Furthermore, the DFB denied their application for membership on 31 May 2014 after Hertha BSC Patent- und Markenrecht AG applied against them at the DFB.

 

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