Wanhuida Intellectual Property - China
A case in which Conseil Interprofessionnel du Vin de Bordeaux (CIVB) successfully saw its collective geographical indication (GI) trademark Bordeaux波尔多 protected in a civil lawsuit in Shandong Province has been selected as one of the 2019 Top 10 IP Cases by the Shandong High Court. The case is the first civil case in which a collective GI trademark has been granted judicial protection by a high court in China and is expected to serve as a point of reference for the administrative and judicial protection of GIs in future cases.
CIVB is a French group of enterprises founded in 1948, which represent nearly 10,000 Bordeaux wine producers and growers and 400 wineries. One of the many missions of the organisation is to promote the brand and defend the prestige of Bordeaux wines both in France and abroad.
On 14 July 2012 CIVB registered the GI BORDEAUX波尔多as a collective trademark in Class 33, designating wines.
On 1 June 2017 it came to the entity’s attention that Yantai Lark was producing and distributing wines bearing the BORDEAUX mark and the false appellation d'origine contrôlée (AOC) statement of Bordeaux Appellation. In May 2018 CIVB sued Yantai Lark before the Yantai Intermediate Court on the grounds of trademark infringement and unfair competition, requesting cessation of the infringement and damages.
On 16 November 2018 the Yantai Intermediate Court rendered a decision in favour of CIVB and ordered Yantai Lark to pay Rmb500,000 in damages. Yantai Lark appealed before the Shandong High Court, which upheld the first-instance judgment on 13 May 2019.
Both courts found that using the BORDEAUX mark and referring to the Bordeaux AOC constituted forgery of the origin of the product and infringement of the registered collective trademark. Further, by claiming that all its products were imported from France, Yantai Lark was engaged in unfair competition.
This is the first civil case in which the GI collective trademark BORDEAUX波尔多 has been granted judicial protection by a high court in China and is expected to serve as a point of reference for the administrative and judicial protection of GIs in future.
In November 2019 China concluded negotiations with the European Union on a landmark bilateral agreement on the protection of GIs and signed the Franco-Chinese protocol on cooperation on GIs with France. The fact that the decision predates both agreements reflects China’s strong protection of foreign GIs.