Italian Court Ruling Affirms the Exclusive Use of SUZUKI™ Method

By ESA Administrator

14th November 2023

Italian Court Ruling Affirms the Exclusive Use of SUZUKI™ Method and Trademark by the ISA and Its Affiliated Regional Associations

In March 2022, a violin teacher, who studied and obtained a certification from the Deutsches Suzuki Institut (DSG), claimed, within a precautionary proceeding before the Court of Turin in Italy, (i) to be entitled to qualify herself as "Suzuki teacher" or "Suzuki Method violin teacher" and (ii) to lawfully use such expressions without infringing the SUZUKI trademark. Istituto Suzuki Italiano (ISI) and International Suzuki Association (ISA) defended the SUZUKI trademark and strenuously contested the opposing arguments and requested that the teacher's use of the SUZUKI trademark be prohibited.

ISI and ISA, in particular, highlighted how DSG is no longer part of the Suzuki™ network as of 2011, and how, therefore, DSG is not entitled to issue any certification relating to the Suzuki™ Method.

The Court upheld ISI's and ISA's arguments and therefore inhibited the teacher's use of the SUZUKI sign and consequently of the title "Suzuki teacher" and "Suzuki Method violin teacher”, as she had not obtained certification from an institute accredited with the Suzuki™ network.

This is an extremely significant decision at a European level, since the Court has recognized that the worldwide Suzuki™ network governed by ISA is the only legitimate entity to teach - and train - the Suzuki™ Method and entitled to exclusive use of the SUZUKI trademark.

The International Suzuki Association (ISA) was founded in 1983 as a non-profit organization in Dallas, Texas in order to serve as a coalition of Suzuki Associations throughout the world. Its primary purpose is to serve as a co-ordination center and to protect the "Suzuki" name and rights. The ISA was designated by Dr. Suzuki as the sole authorized organization which can grant rights to the use of his name and the marks "Suzuki", “SUZUKI™ Method”, and other similar terms throughout the world.

At present, five Regional Associations have been licensed by the International Suzuki Association and been given rights to grant sub-licenses to national associations or other organizations within their area.


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