FRACOGNAC considered misleading as to geographic origin

The PRC Trademarks Law prohibits registration of a trademark that incorporates a geographical indication, when the commodities concerned do not originate from that geographical region, such that the trademark would mislead the public. Geographical indications refer to the geographical origin of the commodities, whose given quality, reputation and other characteristics are determined by the natural factors or human factors of that region.  
The Bureau National Interprofessionel du Cognac (BNIC) and the Institut National de l’Origine et de la Qualité (INAO) have successfully opposed the following trademarks applied for by a Chinese entity, Shenzhen Ying Jun Wine Co Ltd, in respect of, among other things, wine, brandy, cocktails, alcoholic drinks (except beer) and whiskey in Class 33 of the Nice Classification:    
The BNIC is the interprofessional body representing and protecting the interests of all the producers and merchants of Cognac and protecting the ‘controlled appellation of origin’ (AOC) of Cognac. The INAO is a governmental body of the French Republic charged with, among other things, protecting French AOCs in France and abroad, including the Cognac AOC.
The China Trademark Office (CTMO) accepted the opponents’ submissions that the main constituent of the said marks is ‘Cognac’, which is prefixed by ‘Fra’, being short for ‘France’. Given that Cognac is one of the most famous geographical indications in France and also enjoys reputation in China, and in light of the stringent control over the quality of spirits emanating from the Cognac region and the use of the Cognac AOC, the said marks would be misleading and damaging to the reputation of the Cognac AOC when used on Ying June’s Class 33 products. The CTMO thus refused registration of both marks.  
These decisions are consistent with the CTMO’s earlier decisions in respect of similar oppositions filed by BNIC and INAO against the following marks of Ying June: 
Florence Lam, Wilkinson & Grist, Hong Kong
Wilkinson & Grist acted for the opponents in this case

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