- CHAMPANILLO infringes the protected designation of origin CHAMPAGNE (Comité Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne v GB)
- What are the practical implications of this opinion?
- What was the background?
- What did the AG opine?
- Case details
IP analysis: Comité Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne (CIVC) brought legal proceedings in Spain against GB for the infringement of the protected designation of origin (PDO), CHAMPAGNE. GB used the word CHAMPANILLO (accompanied by two stemmed coupe glasses containing sparkling liquid) to advertise catering services for a tapas bar. CHAMPANILLO means ‘little Champagne’ in Spanish. The Spanish Court referred questions to the Court of Justice for clarification as to the protection afforded to CHAMPAGNE against acts resulting in evocation. The Advocate General has opined that the marks in question are not sufficiently similar to constitute use of PDO, but are sufficiently similar to result in the average European consumer forming a link between CHAMPAGNE and CHAMPANILLO such that the latter evokes and/or brings to mind the former. This is the sort of parasitic unfair advantage which Regulation (EU) 1308/2013 sought to prohibit, so as to preserve the reputation for quality that attaches to protected designations of origin. Written by Joshua Marshall, senior associate at Fieldfisher LLP.
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