Champagne wins a historic legal battle in China: no more fake products with the same name

Mar 14 2024, 13:41
After a legal victory against a cosmetics manufacturer and distributor, Champagne has obtained a "well-known trademark" status in China, which prohibits the use of its name on the labels of any product

Champagne has acquired "well-known trademark" status in China. This is a condition granted to very few designations that provides extensive protection, even in Chinese characters, against any fraudulent use of the name - in this case Champagne - for any product. An important acquisition obtained following a legal victory by the Comité Champagne.

A legal battle over the use of the name

The background to the story dates back to 2022, when the Comité Champagne sued two cosmetics companies, claiming that the label of a perfume named "Champagne Life" imitated the marks of the French designation, weakening the links between brands and wine products. In this initial case, the Beijing Intellectual Property Court ruled against the two cosmetics companies for violating the Champagne IG mark. The "incriminated" perfume was produced by Xuelei Cosmetics Co. Ltd. and distributed by a cosmetics company based in Beijing, Yali Shadi Cosmetics Co. Ltd.

Subsequently, the Beijing High Court ruled in favor of the Comité Champagne in the case against the Chinese perfume manufacturer and distributor, ordering them to compensate the Comité Champagne for an amount of approximately 220,000 RMB (about 35,000 dollars) and ordered the cessation of production, sale, and distribution of perfumes labeled "Champagne Life".

The new status

In addition to this judgment, the Beijing High Court confirmed the acquisition of "well-known trademark" status in China. Since 2013, the French designation had obtained the status of Geographical Indication (GI), which only prohibited the use of its name for other wines. The new condition prevents any product, in any context even not strictly related to wine, from being labeled and marketed with the name Champagne. "Beyond the conviction, this decision proves to be a huge step forward for the protection of the Champagne designation in China," said the general manager of the Comité Champagne, Charles Goemaere, emphasizing that this is the first foreign designation to obtain this recognition.

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