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Web Exclusive | April 2019

GOTS wins case against t-shirt printer

The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) has won a legal judgement in an appeal case against a company that printed blank GOTS-certified organic cotton t-shirts and then sold them afterwards as GOTS-certified end products, despite not been certified as a GOTS printer.

“This judgement is groundbreaking,” claimed Claudia Kersten, Managing Director of GOTS. According to GOTS, the Higher Regional Court in Stuttgart passed the judgement on 18 February 2019 in favour of GOTS, which says will have “far-reaching consequences for any advertising using the GOTS logo and/or name.”

As per the GOTS standard criteria, each processing step must be certified in order to exclude toxic or carcinogenic substances, among other criteria. The printed t-shirt was advertised as a GOTS certified end product, so the Global Standard non-profit, the standard setter of GOTS, took legal action, according to GOTS.

The judges explicitly pointed out that the GOTS trademark is regarded as a quality mark. Consumers must be able to rely on compliance with the strict requirements of the standard. Printing on a textile would bear the risk that this product would no longer comply with the requirements of GOTS. The reputation of GOTS could, thus, be weakened or otherwise damaged by further (non-certified) processing which would constitute an infringing activity.
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