Wednesday, 4 October 2017

A legal battle over a ‘Champagne Biscuit’

Carozzi, a Chilean multinational company specialised in the food industry, won a legal dispute against the Comité Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne (Inter-Professional Committee for Champagne Wine - CIVC) for the use of the word Champagne to identify one of its products.
The controversy began two years ago when Carozzi requested the registration of the mark ‘Costa Galleta Champaña’ (Coast Champagne Biscuit) before the National Institute of Industrial Property (Instituto Nacional de Propiedad Industrial – INAPI). At that time, the Committee for Champagne Wine opposed the registration of the mark, claiming the non-authorised use of a French appellation of origin recognised by Chile and world famous sparkling wine.

Pouring the news...
The INAPI initially rejected the registration of the mark. However, Carozzi appealed the decision, and the Chilean Industrial Property Tribunal later granted its registration. Dissatisfied with the decision, the Committee for Champagne Wine filed an appeal (in cassation) with the Supreme Court. The Second Chamber of the Supreme Court of Chile analysed whether the registration of the mark ‘Costa Galleta Champaña’ would affect the intellectual property rights of the French wine sector due to possible confusion among consumers generated by the use of the word ‘Champagne’, as alleged by the CIVC.

In that regard, the Court concluded that the mark and the appellation of origin could coexist peacefully on the market because there is no risk of misunderstanding, deception or confusion on the part of consumers. As expected, the Committee for Champagne Wine filled a revocation before the Constitutional Court, which upheld the decision.

In this way, all legal instances were used and, despite the utilisation of a protected appellation of origin, Carozzi can freely use the word Champagne as the name of one of its most popular products in Chile.

Sources here, here and here.

Post written by Florelia Vallejo Trujillo
Assistant Professor, Universidad del Tolima, Colombia
PhD Candidate University of Nottingham, UK

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