France Targets Non-French Wine, Champagne
France’s Institut National de l’Origine et de la Qualité has filed an opposition with the U.S. Trademark Trial and Appeal Board contesting Teastream LLC’s application to register “Champagne’s Sober Cousin” for tea products. Institut National de l’Origine et de la Qualité v. Teastream LLC, No. 91241975 (T.T.A.B., opposition filed June 25, 2018). The French agency asserts that the mark would infringe on the country’s protected designation of origin for sparkling wines from the Champagne region, allegedly resulting in “dilution by blurring and by tarnishment” of a famous mark.
Meanwhile, France’s Directorate General of Competition, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Control has reportedly investigated “anomalies, deceptions and fraud” in the sale of Spanish wine. The investigation purportedly found that several merchants sold as many as 10 million bottles of Spanish wine as French by falsely marking the bottles with “vin du France” or misleadingly marketing them with French elements, such as the French flag, a fleur-de-lis or an image of a chateau. The agency has reportedly filed 25 criminal charges against multiple companies.