Mrs. Inese Polaka, Trademark Attorney of Agency TRIA ROBIT, on behalf of French organization Comite Interprofessionnel du vin de Champagne filed on 22 April, 2014 the opposition against the trademark “CHAMPEZZO”, reg. nr. М 66 984, registered by the Lithuanian undertaking “ITALIANA LT”, UAB. The opposition was based on similarity of the challenged trademark CHAMPEZZO to the widely known geographical indication of origin Champagne.
On 28 August 2015 the Board of Appeals of the Patent Office of the Republic of Latvia has examined the opposition. Mr. Bronislavs Baltrumovics, Trademark Attorney & Senior Lawyer of Agency TRIA ROBIT participated in the hearings on behalf of Comite Interprofessionnel du vin de Champagne.
After the examination of the case materials, the Board of Appeals found that the geographical indication of origin Champagne is one of the most renowned indications of origin of food products and beverages in Europe and in Latvia. The vast majority of consumers associate the indication Champagne with sparkling wine which is produced in France, in the Champagne region and also with feasts, exclusiveness, luxury goods as well as high price. The Board of Appeals agreed with the claimant’s opinion that the coincidence of the first parts (champ-) of the comparable indications has a significant influence over the perception of contested indications. As it was established in trademark dispute resolution practice, consumers better remember first part of trademark, but they may take a pass on the difference between last parts of trademarks. So, it is most likely that consumers would associate the indication CHAMPEZZO with indication of origin Champagne. Therefore, according to the opinion of the Board of Appeals, taking into consideration the likeliness of first parts of the contested indications, vast majority of consumers might perceive the trademark CHAMPEZZO as an imitation or a parody of the protected geographical indication of origin Champagne. Further, the Board of Appeals considers that even if there is an indication of the real place of origin of the particular beverage and the consumer is not misled, the use of CHAMPEZZO trademark in respect of wine and sparkling wine, gives a trademark owner the possibility to attract an additional interest of consumers to the particular beverage that can be recognized as dishonest use of the reputation of the indication of origin Champagne. The use of the contested trademark can inflict harm to reputation and prestige of the indication of origin, if, for example, the quality of the beverage is not high.
In accordance with above-mentioned, the Board of Appeals decided to satisfy filed opposition and by decision of 15 July 2016 invalidated the registration of the trademark “CHAMPEZZO”, reg. nr. М 66 984. The decision was not appealed and entered into force.