Champagne !


According to Art. L 115-1 of the Consumption Law, an Origin Appellation is constituted by the denomination of a country, a district or a locality designating a product which comes therefrom and of which the quality or the features owe to the geographic environment, including natural factors and human factors.

In April 1995, Mr. Poitoux filed a trademark "S.O.S. CHAMPAGNE" for pastry, champagne and delivery service. In August 1997, Mr. Poitoux was assigned by the Wine of Champagne Interprofessional Comity (CIVC) for appropriation and illicite mis-appropriation of an Origin Appellation (AO).According to Art. L 115-5, the geographic name of the AO cannot be employed for any other similar product ; nor for any other product or service when the use can mis-appropriate or weaken the AO notoriety. Same Article says that an AO can never be considered as generic and in public domain. By proposing champagne, but also pastry, under the name "S.O.S. CHAMPAGNE", Mr. Poitoux did mis-appropriate the champagne AO. By naming his activity "S.O.S. CHAMPAGNE", it is clear, for the Court, that Mr. Poitoux tried to appropriate himself the champagne notoriety. By filing "S.O.S. CHAMPAGNE" as a trademark, Mr. Poitoux did an appropriation and illicite mis-appropriation of the AO. The trademark is therefore invalidated, its use is forbidden, all marked documents and objects have to be destroyed (5 000 Frs per infraction and day of delay). - 50 000 Frs for damages. - Publication of the judgment : 30 000 Frs per insertion. - 10 000 Frs on the basis of Art. 700 NCPC. Tribunal of First Instance of Grasse, September 18, 1998