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Comite Interprofessionel du Vin Champagne V. Wineworths Grou

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by

aniruddha barman

on 1 October 2014

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Transcript of Comite Interprofessionel du Vin Champagne V. Wineworths Grou

Previous Judgements in Lower Court(s)
Issues Addressed? Decision Taken?
and Background...
Conclusion
Procedure
Facts
Rule/Holding
An Australian Company sought to sell sparkling wine in NZ.
The wine was made in Australia but was packaged with the word "Champagne" labeled on the bottle.
CIVC sought an injunction to prevent the Australians from "passing off" Australian Sparkling wine as wine produced in the region of Champagne.
According to CIVC, a sparkling wine should only be called Champagne if it comes from the region of Champagne, France.
The Australian wine makers were accused of having devalued the word "Champagne" by labeling the word on sparkling wines of lower end while still using the manufacturing process name in higher end wine bottles.
The defendant said that the word "Champagne" was commonplace in New Zealand and that people did not attach any special significance to it in the wine market.
1) Is the word "Champagne" a generic term used in the wine market with no distinctive significance?


2) Do the ordinary people of New Zealand attach any special value to the word "Champagne" with respect to their wine purchasing or drinking behavior?


3) Is the defendant deceptively infringing the intellectual property rights of the actual champagne producers as claimed by the plaintiff?


$1.25
1991
2 N.Z.L.R 432
Details
Parties
The editors' reasoning
Analysis
The Champagne Case
The parties for the case were
the following:

Plaintiff/Claimant




Defendant/Respondent

Comite Interprofessionel du Vin Champagne
The Wineworths Group
(CIVC) is an organization grouping the actors of the Champagne production and trade - growers, cooperatives and merchants - under the direction of the government.
An Australian wine importer and distributor based out of New Zealand.
Issues
The case at hand had never been produced before any court. For the first time in 1991, the case was taken to the High Court of Wellington for judgement. Though the parties in the case made claims involving French law, the decision in the court was made following New Zealand laws.
1) Is the word "Champagne" a generic term used in the wine market with no distinctive significance?


2) Do the ordinary people of New Zealand attach any special value to the word "Champagne" with respect to their wine purchasing or drinking behavior?


3) Is the defendant deceptively infringing the intellectual property rights of the actual champagne producers as claimed by the plaintiff?


NO
YES
YES
By using the word "
Champagne
" on the label, the defendant is deceptively encroaching on the reputation and goodwill of the plaintiffs
Hence, the court enjoined the Australian Defendants from using the word champagne in New Zealand.
The court went on market research studies supporting the contention that there was significant evidence that "Champagne" was not a generic word by usage in New Zealand and that an ordinary purchaser in New Zealand without special knowledge on wines was likely to be misled.
Most Restaurants in New Zealand make the distinction, clearly on the menu, between sparkling wines and Champagne as well as listing the prices from most expensive to least.
The sale of Australian sparkling wine under the name "Champagne" was held to constitute
passing off
.
Passing off
is a common law tort used to enforce unregistered trademark rights.
The court found that geographical indication to a place even though not having origin from that territory is deceptive.
Geographical Indications Act 1994 was passed for specific goods like Marlborough for wine. A person using any of the registered or protected geographical indication on goods which do not originate from that area will be deemed to have breached Fair Trading Act
The court determined that champagne is a geographical name and that goodwill will be damaged if someone else uses the name in relation to a product in such a manner as to deceive purchasers into believing the product has the characteristics of products normally associated with the name when it does not.

The case is important and significant in the sense that how the use of same word in your product in two different geographical location can invite legal prosecution on any entity.
Full transcript