Champanillo Name Spells Bubble Trouble for Barcelona Tapas Bars
(Bloomberg) -- A Barcelona tapas bar chain lost a European Union court dispute with French wine makers over its use of the name “Champanillo” and a logo of two clinking Champagne glasses.
An EU protection for the name Champagne also shields it against the use of similarly sounding names, the EU’s Court of Justice ruled on Thursday.
The case ended up at the EU court after local judges decided in 2019 to seek guidance on the scope of the so-called designation of origin that protects the name Champagne. The case will now return to the national tribunal for a final ruling.
EU court challenges over other producers’ use of protected names for food and beverages, such as Parmesan, Feta or Champagne, aren’t rare. EU judges in 2017 ruled that discount supermarket chain Aldi may have gone too far when it decided to sell a Christmas special as “Champagner Sorbet” in Germany.
What’s new in this case is the use of a name similar to Champagne by a service provider. The court ruled that the EU protection covers other products and services and aims to “assure consumers that agricultural products bearing a registered geographical indication have, because of their provenance from a particular geographical area, certain specific characteristics.”
The Comite Interprofessionel du Vin de Champagne, which protects the rights of French Champagne producers, also challenged the use of the name Champanillo on social media and in its domain name, champanillo.es.
An adviser to the EU’s top court in a non-binding opinion in April said the national court had to take the final decision, but said that in this case there was a “significant visual and phonetic similarity” between the name of the bar and the world-famous sparkling wine.
The case is: C-783/19, Comite Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne v. GB.
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