08/03/2018 – Opinion of the Advocate General of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) on the potential evocation of GIs

thumb lalwsuitOn 22 February, the Advocate General of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) gave an interesting opinion on a case concerning the potential evocation of GIs (SWA v Klotz re Glen Buchenbach – C-44/17).

The case before the Court of Hamburg opposes the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) and a distillery located in Germany, which produces and markets whisky under the designation ‘Glen Buchenbach’. The product’s label also indicates ‘German product’. The SWA considers that the use of the term ‘Glen’ in connection with whisky infringes the GI ‘Scotch Whisky’ as it is liable to cause consumers to make an inappropriate connection to the GI and to mislead them as to the true origin of the product. Following the action initiated by the SWA, the Court of Hamburg asked the EJC to interpret EU legislation on GIs spirit drinks (Regulation (EC) No 110/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 January 2008 on the definition, description, presentation, labelling and the protection of geographical indications of spirit drinks), in particular with respect to the concept of ‘evocation’.

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