After 6 years of litigation, the Barcelona Court of Appeal concludes that the use of the sign “CHAMPANILLO” constitutes an infringement of the Champagne designation of origin (PDO) as well as a misappropriation of its reputation. The case concerned the use of the sign “CHAMPANILLO” as a trade name for a chain of restaurants. For more information on this case see this article on the oriGIn website.
In October 2019, the Court of Appeal of Barcelona had referred the case C-783/19 to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) regarding the interpretation of Article 103 of Regulation EU 1308/2013 .
The CJEU had indicated in its preliminary ruling that the protection of PDOs against misuse, imitation or evocation should be extended to products and services other than those designated in order to prevent those products from unduly benefiting from the reputation of the PDO.
Following the CJEU’s decision, on 21 March, the Barcelona Court of Appeal applied the reasoning thein developed and confirmed the appeal by the Comité Champagne. The sign “CHAMPANILLO” was indeed considered similar to the PDO Champagne. Therefore, its use to identify catering services is likely to evoke the Champagne appellation in the average Spanish consumer and to exploit its reputation. The decision of Court of Appeal of Barcelona of 21 March 2022 can be found here (in Spanish).
Likewise, on 9 February, the Court of Appeal of Madrid rendered a favorable decision in the La “Champanera” case (use of “Champanera” to designate wedding services), which confirmed once more the application of the CJEU case law on evocation. The decision of the Court of Appeal of Madrid can be found here (in Spanish).
Congratulations to the Comité Champagne which, through these decisions, contributes to strengthen the protection of GIs.