Following the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) Judgment in Case C-614/17 earlier this year, in which it found that a name protected in the EU as PDO/PGI may be evoked through the use of figurative signs, in July the Supreme Court of Spain ruled on the case opposing the “Fundación Consejo Regulador de la Denominación de Origen Protegida Queso Manchego” (the group in charge of the PDO Queso Manchego) and the company “Industrial Quesera Cuquerella SL and Juan Ramón Cuquerella Montagud”.
The Supreme Court of Spain found that figurative elements (“Don Quixote de La Mancha” as well as a bony horse and landscapes with windmills and sheep) have sufficient conceptual proximity to “La Mancha” region to lead consumers to associate them to the PDO “Queso Manchego”. As a result, the use of the above-mentioned figurative elements on cheese products made in “La Mancha” – without following the “Queso Manchego” product’s specification though – were considered a violation of the relevant EU law (an evocation of the PDO, according to art. 13.1.b of Regulation (EU) No 1151/2012). Likewise, the Supreme Court invalidated the registered trademark “Rocinante” (art. 14.1 of the same Regulation).
This ruling represents another important precedent which clarifies the concept of PDO/PGI evocation in the relevant EU regulations. Evocation is a powerful tool against subtle attempts to mislead consumers and benefit unfairly from the reputation of PDO/PGI. In this respect, please read oriGIn paper on the evocation case law in the EU
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For more information about GI enforcement see the concerning category in the section Policy and Advocacy