'Champagne' is protected as a reputed collective mark
In Institut National des Appellations d'Origine v Handelshuset OPEX AB (Case 99-004), the Court of Patent Appeals has ordered the cancellation of the defendant's mark CHAMPAGNE for spectacle frames. The court held that the term 'champagne' is not only protected as a geographical indication but also as a reputed collective trademark.
Following Handelshuset OPEX's registration of the trademark CHAMPAGNE in Sweden, the French Institut National des Appellations d'Origine (INAO) filed a cancellation action. It claimed that the term 'champagne' is protected as a geographical indication and also as a guarantee and certification mark. Thus, argued the INAO, it should also be granted protection as a reputed collective trademark. The INAO further contended that OPEX's use of its mark would take unfair advantage of, or be detrimental to, the distinctive character or repute of 'champagne' and lead to dilution.
The Court of Patent Appeals agreed with the INAO and ordered the cancellation of OPEX's trademark. The court held that, although 'champagne' is a protected geographical indication, this does not prevent it from benefiting from other forms of protection. It reasoned that, because the term is a famous guarantee and certification mark for sparkling wine, indicating that it comes from the Champagne district in France and is of a certain quality, it can also be protected in the form of a reputed collective trademark.
Pär Leander, Magnusson Wahlin Qvist Stanbrook Advokatbyrå KB, Stockholm
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