Cognac and cannabis for Europe's top judges

The IPKat has just been wondering what facts lie behind Case C-4/10, Bureau National Interprofessionnel du Cognac v Oy Gust. Ranin, a reference of a question from the Korkein hallinto-oikeus (Finland) to the Court of Justice of the European Union lodged on 5 January 2010 in the ruggedly handsome if (to the Kats) mysterious and impenetrable language of Finnish.

The questions referred are these:
"1. Is Regulation 110/2008 ... on the definition, description, presentation, labelling and protection of geographical indications of spirit drinks ... applicable to the assessment of the conditions for registration of a trade mark, containing a geographical indication protected by that regulation, which was applied for on 19 December 2001 and registered on 31 December 2003?
If the answer to Question 1 is affirmative, is a trade mark which inter alia contains a geographical indication of origin which is protected by Regulation 110/2008, or such an indication in the form of a generic term and a translation, and which is registered for spirit drinks which inter alia in the case of their manufacturing method and alcohol content do not meet the requirements set for the use of the geographical indication of origin in question, to be refused as contrary to Articles 16 and 23 of Regulation 110/2008?
Regardless of whether or not the answer to Question 1 is affirmative, is a trade mark of the type described in Question 2 to be regarded as liable to mislead the public for instance as to the nature, quality or geographical origin of the goods or services, in the way referred to in Article 3(1)(g) of ... Directive 89/104 approximate the laws of the Member States relating to trade marks, ... [as codified]?
2. Regardless of the answer to Question 1, if a Member State has, on the basis of Article 3(2)(a) of Directive 89/104, decreed that a trade mark shall not be registered or if registered shall be liable to be declared invalid if the use of the trade mark can be prohibited by virtue of legislation other than the trade mark law of the Member State in question or Community law, is the view to be taken that, if the trade mark registration contains elements which infringe Regulation 110/2008, on the basis of which the use of the trade mark can be prohibited, such a trade mark shall not be registered?"
The IPKat is curious to know what this reference is all about. Can any of his readers, whether from Finland or elsewhere, let him know. It's surprising that there haven't been more legal issues arising in Europe with regard to the interplay of trade mark protection and geographical indications and the like. Now that there are so many more of each than there used to be, perhaps opportunities for the systems to conflict with another will occur more frequently.

Merpel says, if you don't like Cognac, you may prefer cannabis, in which case you will be interested to know that Case C-4/10 P Torresan v OHIM (noted by the IPKat here), has been appealed to the Court of Justice too.

French Cognac here
Finnish cognac mustard here
Cognac and cannabis for Europe's top judges Cognac and cannabis for Europe's top judges Reviewed by Jeremy on Tuesday, March 02, 2010 Rating: 5


  1. Hmm, perhaps it is all about Vodka/Wodka, or however else you want to call it, since I believe that Vodka is produced (distilled) in the distilleries of Cognac.

  2. Here is the link to the TM in question:


All comments must be moderated by a member of the IPKat team before they appear on the blog. Comments will not be allowed if the contravene the IPKat policy that readers' comments should not be obscene or defamatory; they should not consist of ad hominem attacks on members of the blog team or other comment-posters and they should make a constructive contribution to the discussion of the post on which they purport to comment.

It is also the IPKat policy that comments should not be made completely anonymously, and users should use a consistent name or pseudonym (which should not itself be defamatory or obscene, or that of another real person), either in the "identity" field, or at the beginning of the comment. Current practice is to, however, allow a limited number of comments that contravene this policy, provided that the comment has a high degree of relevance and the comment chain does not become too difficult to follow.

Learn more here:

Powered by Blogger.