Earlier in July, an amendment to Russia’s Federal Law “On State Regulation of Production and Turnover of Alcoholic Products” (available here in Russian) was passed.
The new law will prevent legitimate Champagne producers from using “Shampanskoe” – the Russian translation of the appellation – on their bottles. Likewise, French producers will have to identify the original product as “sparkling wine” in Cyrillic characters.
This contradicts well established and internationally recognized intellectual property and trade principles, embedded in the WTO TRIPs Agreement, which prohibits States from introducing special requirements – such as the obligation to translate commercial signs into the local language – that would unjustifiably encumber their use. It also against the spirit of the WIPO Geneva Act of the Lisbon Agreement, which Russia is interested to join. The appellation Champagne is currently protected in more than 120 countries around the world and has been the object, for several years, of talks for its recognition in Russia.
The Law will also allow Russian distilleries which comply with certain technical requirements to brand their product “Cognac of Russia”. This part of new Law also raises concerns with internationally recognized intellectual property principles.