Church loses fight over ‘Mezquita’ beer

Image of ex-Pope Benedict XVI. Credit: Wikipedia - By Fabio Pozzebom/ABr - Agência Brasil [1], CC BY 3.0 br,

ALTHOUGH the wars between Catholics and Moors in Andalucia are long over, where the well-known Mezquita in Cordoba is concerned fights continue to this day.

Catholic authorities in the city have been fighting their own particular crusade for years to control everything related to the Unesco Cultural Heritage Site, Spain’s most important Islamic building which was originally a Moorish mosque and because a Catholic cathedral in 1239.

Although Unesco recognized the building under the name of Mezquita de Cordoba (Mosque of Cordoba) in 1984, church-controlled publications have slowly changed all mentions to read Cathedral of Cordoba, causing a number of rows.

While doing so the Cabildo, or council of cathedral canons, went on a copyright frenzy to register a number of trademarks with various versions of names for the building.

The problem arose when the name Mezquita Catedral was registered in a class dealing with alcoholic beverages and religious leaders failed to notice there was already a Mezquita beer on the market.

Cervezas Alhambra, part of the Mahou Group, appealed to the Patent Office and the courts claiming that the similarity of the brand names could confuse consumers.

The case finally arrived at the Madrid High Court, which has ruled in Cerveza Alhambra’s favour, meaning the Catholic leaders of the city will be unable to sell any alcoholic drinks under the name Mezquita Catedral de Cordoba and must pay all legal fees for the case.

It remains unkown whether the Cabildo, which also registered the name for cosmetics, jewelery, knives, technological equipment, metal goods, furniture, clothing, toys, leather goods, food products, coffee, tea, cocoa, mineral water, wine, advertising, insurance, telecommunications, transport, education, hospitality and medical and veterinarian services, actually intended to sell alcoholic drinks or not.

Cabildo spokesman Jose Juan Jimenez Gueto insisted there was no economic intention behind the registrations, but anyone wishing to use the word Mezquita de Cordoba on a product will have to obtain the church’s permission before doing so.


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