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A Star Wars fan club may continue to use a member’s logo even after he has left the club.

In its ruling of May 16, 2023, Case No. 11 U 61/22, the Higher Regional Court of Frankfurt Main decided that the right to use a logo designed by a member is generally not tied to continued membership in the association. The exclusion of the author from the association of Star Wars disciples alone did not justify the recall of the right of use due to a change in the author’s conviction (§ 42 UrhG).

A. Once upon a time….

The petitioner was a member of a “Star Wars” fan club, for which he designed a logo. He granted the association both the rights of use and the rights of reproduction and distribution.

Due to a disagreement, which is not discussed in detail in the judgment, the author was excluded from the club. The action filed with the Frankfurt Regional Court was dismissed. This decision has now been confirmed by the OLG.

B. As the court ruled

“The purpose of the granting of rights was to provide the association, also for its external presentation, with a logo, not to express the identification of the plaintiff in particular with the association.” A recall of the granted right of use according to § 42 UrhG was also out of the question.

A recall due to changed conviction would only be possible under the condition that the work no longer corresponded to his conviction and that he could therefore no longer be expected to exploit the work.

According to the court, it could be left open whether this also applied in the case of a change in the relationship between the author and the client, because the plaintiff had not sufficiently demonstrated that exploitation of the work was now unreasonable. Merely being kicked out of the association is not sufficient for this, in the opinion of the court.