One interesting news from the UK shows clearly how powerful can be the protection of geographical indications.
In the case at hand, Les Grands Chais De France applied for an international trademark NOSECCO for class 32 – non-alcoholic wines; non-alcoholic sparkling wines, where the UK is a designated country.
Against this application, Consorzio di Tutela della Denominazione di Origine Controllata Prosecco filed an opposition based on registered geographical indication for PROSECCO.
As it is well-known, Prosecco is a famous wine that can be produced only in some areas in Italy.
The UKIPO upheld the opposition and refused the NOSECCO trademark application stating that both signs are similar for identical goods.
While Les Grands tried to claim that these marks are different based on the different beginnings, the Patent Office disagreed. In this case, there is a visual and phonetic similarity which can create consumers ‘ confusion.
This case comes to show that geographical indications protection can be invoked not only against identical signs but against similar too, especially where there is a strong reputation of the earlier indication among the consumers.
Source: Claire Keating – Marks & Clerk.