Vinho Verde may remind you of the white village you left behind the sea, but not the VERVE mark...
In a dispute between the Comissão de Viticultura da Região dos Vinhos Verdes and the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) and Le Vigne di Sammarco S.R.L., the Second Board of Appeal decided that there is no liability of confusion between the mark VERVE (and device) and the mark VINHO VERDE (R 126/2021-2, decision of 29-10-2021).
The Comissão de Viticultura da Região dos Vinhos Verdes filed an opposition against EUTM application with the following representation:
The opposition was based on the Portuguese prior mark VINHO VERDE (wordmark), the prior extension to international registration of the mark
and also the designations of origin VINHO VERDE, AGUARDENTE DE VINHO VERDE DA REGIÃO DOS VINHOS VERDES, AGUARDENTE BAGACEIRA DA REGIÃO DOS VINHOS VERDES.
The mark VERVE (and device) covers in Class 33 goods identical to those protected by the Opponent's earlier rights, namely: Sparkling wines; Rose wines; Red wine; Wine; Sparkling white wines; White wine; Natural sparkling wines; Wines of protected geographical indication; Still wine; Grape wine; Wines of protected appellation of origin; Sparkling red wines; Sparkling grape wine; Dessert wines.
The opposition was rejected by the EUIPO, and the registration was fully granted, as it was considered that there was no likelihood of confusion between the marks since the earlier marks had a low level of distinctiveness and were globally different from a graphic, phonetic and conceptual point of view. The designations of origin invoked have not been attended to due to the lack of supporting documents under the terms of the uniform EU system of protection regarding geographical indications for wines and spirit drinks.
The Comissão de Viticultura da Região dos Vinhos Verdes appealed.
However, at the Second Board of Appeal, the EUIPO confirmed the decision, maintaining the same position.
On 14 September 2020 the EU and China signed a bilateral agreement to protect 100 European Geographical Indications (GIs) in China and 100 Chinese GIs in the European Union against usurpation and imitation.
From the EU side this agreement is considered to be an important step to protect the European GI products which are renowned for their quality and diversity, products such as the iconic Cava, Champagne, Feta, Irish whiskey, Münchener Bier, Ouzo, Polska Wódka, Porto, Prosciutto di Parma and Queso Manchego.
At the same time the agreement contributes to strengthening the trade relationship with China, with regard to the agri-food sector.
In 2019, China was the third destination for EU agri-food products, reaching €14.5 billion. It is also the second destination of EU exports of products protected as Geographical Indications, accounting for 9% by value, including wines, agri-food products and spirit drinks.
Among the Chinese GI products, the list includes for example Pixian Dou Ban (Pixian Bean Paste), Anji Bai Cha (Anji White Tea), Panjin Da Mi (Panjin rice) and Anqiu Da Jiang (Anqiu Ginger).
In Portugal the agreement with China was considered “historic and comprehensive” by the President of the Douro and Port Wine Institute. From now on the GIs Douro, Porto, Port e Oporto, are among those protected in the Chinese market which means that only wines with the Douro and Porto designations that comply with their certification and control requirements may be marketed on the Chinese market.
Following the signature of the agreement and the European Parliament consent, it will officially be adopted by the Council. The agreement is expected to enter into force at the beginning of 2021.
The 2019 edition of the Worldwide Symposium on Geographical Indications was held in Lisbon jointly organised by WIPO and the Portuguese Institute of Industrial Property (INPI). The Symposium program included two days of seminars, followed by an excursion on the third day to a region near Lisbon where products protected by geographical indications are produced (Setúbal and Palmela wines). The event was well attended by a significant number of government representatives, international intergovernmental and non-governmental organisations besides individual participants, coming from more than 60 different countries.
The welcoming given by the Portuguese Minister for Justice, Francisca Van Dunem and WIPO’s Director General, Francis Gurry was followed by a note from a special invitee, the Executive Director of the EUIPO, Christian Archambeau who labeled the Symposium as the “most significant international gathering concerning geographical indications”.
Further information can be found in our detailed report here: https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6552940846717681664.