Ball & Young, a company based in Corby, Northamptonshire, applied to the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) to register the trade mark ‘Cloud 9 Caviar and Champagne Collection’ for flooring products. The application was refused after an objection from the Comité Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne (CIVC), which is the trade body representing Champagne producers.
When is ‘Champagne’ a Trade Mark?
An opposition hearing was held at the IPO, during which Ball & Young argued that the word ‘Champagne’ is commonly used to describe a colour and is also used in expressions such as “Champagne lifestyle”. The company said that the CIVC should not have a complete monopoly over the usage of the word.
However, despite accepting the fact that it would be unlikely for a consumer to confuse flooring products and sparkling wine, the Hearing Officer at the IPO said that Ball & Young wanted to take advantage of the ‘Champagne’ name. The IPO, he said, needed to uphold the protection afforded to the CIVC under EU law because the name Champagne is protected as a geographical indication.
The CIVC is extremely protective of the Champagne name, which is permitted to be applied only to sparkling wines produced at specific vineyards and using particular methods within a defined region of northern France. The organisation has a reputation for vigorously defending the use of the name across a wide range of goods and services.
Trade Mark Advice from SH&P
If you are considering applying for a trade mark for a product or service, make sure you talk to a trade mark attorney from SH&P. We can help you to check for possible conflicts with marks that are already registered, and advise you on how to make an application if you decide to go ahead. All our advice is designed around your business needs.
Our trade mark attorneys also manage existing trade mark portfolios, and are able to assist with issues in the UK and overseas. Your initial consultation with us is completely free, so please do book an appointment with us today.