The law case concerning the evocation of GIs keeps consolidating across the EU and two recent decisions confirm this positive trend.
On the one hand, in November last year, the EUIPO Opposition Division rejected the trademark “Champ Champ” (world mark, application No 18 047 041), for all contested goods in Class 32 (the original application also concerned Class 33, but the applicant – McGregor Sports and Entertainment Limited – had subsequently filed a limitation to Class 32). The Comité Champagne and the “Institut National de l’Origine et de la Qualité” (INAO) had filed an opposition based on the PDO “Champagne”.
The EUIPO Opposition Division concluded that “the similarities between the signs, especially taking into account the conceptual identity and the proximity between the goods are sufficient for the public to make this clear and direct connection between the contested application on the contested goods with the protected product wine coming from the Champagne region protected by the PDO. Consequently, at least from the perspective of the French-speaking public, the contested sign does constitute an evocation of the earlier PDO within the meaning of Article 103(2)(b) of Regulation (EU) No 1308/2013. As explained above, evocation assessed by reference to the consumers of a single Member State is sufficient to trigger the protection provided in the said provision”.
On the other end, on 20 January, the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) won the first round of the case that followed the CJEU judgment in the “Glen Buchenbach”, in which it was confirmed that the “conceptual” proximity between a GI and a contested name can result in an evocation.
The Hamburg District Court had confirmed that ‘Glen’ is strongly associated with Scotland and Scotch Whisky, and the only reason to use ‘Glen’ for a German whisky is because of its undoubted association with Scotch Whisky. Glen Buchenbach had appealed the ruling and the judgment in favour of the SWA was issued on 20 January.