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A trade association representing Champagne producers has come down hard on a British flooring company which hoped to bask in the glory of the sparkling wine by registering trade marks which incorporated the name 'Champagne'.
The company had applied to register written and pictorial trade marks in respect of its proposed range of 'Caviar and Champagne' flooring products, but encountered stiff opposition from the Comité Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne. The Comité argued that the applications were an opportunistic attempt to achieve association in the public mind with the 'glamour and image of Champagne'.
The official appointed to resolve the dispute found that it was a 'fanciful proposition' that anyone would be confused between sparkling wine and floor products. There was also no reason to believe that the public would be deceived into believing that the company's goods were endorsed or licensed by Champagne producers.
However, in rejecting the company's application, the official ruled that it had no right to ride on the coat tails of Champagne's worldwide reputation. Champagne was protected as a designation of origin under European law and the company was seeking to take advantage of the name to imply that its products were similarly luxurious.