The Court of Justice of the European Union has held that Article 103(2)(b) of the EU Regulation No. 1308/2013 does not require that the product protected by a Protected Designation of Origin (‘PDO’) and the product or service covered by the disputed sign be identical or similar.
Holding that protection to a PDO is also available where the disputed sign designates a service, the CJEU observed that the reputation of a product covered by a PDO is liable to be exploited also where the practice referred to in that provision concerns a service.
It also held that evocation is established where the use of a name creates, in the mind of an average European consumer who is reasonably well informed and reasonably observant and circumspect, a sufficiently clear and direct link between that name and the PDO.
The dispute in the case Comité Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne v. GB decided on 9 September 2021, involved use of the sign ‘Champanillo’ (meaning ‘little champagne’ in Spanish) with an image of two champagne coupes containing a sparkling beverage, by the defendant (a bar).
The petitioner was of the view that use of the word ‘Champanillo’ infringed the PDO ‘Champagne’.