Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law


Journal Staff

First Page



Plaintiff, a West German foundation, sued to enjoin infringement of United States trademarks by defendant, an East German "peoples-owned enterprise." The original Carl Zeiss Stiftung was created at Jena in 1889 with the required approval of the Duchy of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach for the purpose of owning and operating an optical business for profit. In 1945, before Jena became part of the Soviet Zone, United States military authorities evacuated all members of the Zeiss Board of Management, as well as key personnel, to Heidenheim, Wuerttemberg, in the United States zone. In 1948, the Soviet Union expropriated all Zeiss assets in Jena, including its trademarks. The Zeiss commercial enterprise at Jena was reorganized in 1951 and became VEB Carl Zeiss, Jena, responsible solely to the East German government. Following the Soviet expropriation, the Board of Management obtained a decree from the Minister of State in Wuerttemberg to amend the foundation's statute to create a new domicile in Heidenheim for Carl Zeiss Stiftung. In 1967, the Wuerttemberg decrees were affirmed by an Act of the German Parliament.