In Champagne Louis Roederer v J Garcia Carrion SA and others  EWHC 2760 (Ch), the claimant, the owner of the famous CRISTAL United Kingdom and Community trade marks relating to champagne, sued the defendant company, which was importing and selling sparkling wine in the United Kingdom under the sign CRISTALINO JAUME SERRA. The claimant also sought a declaration of invalidity against the CRISTALINO trade mark on the basis of its earlier registered UK trade mark. The claimant’s champagne sells for over £100 per bottle, with the price of vintage champagnes being offered for sale for thousands of pounds. The defendant’s cava was sold for around £5 per bottle.
Mrs Justice Rose held that the claimant’s trade mark had been infringed, in that consumers were likely to confuse the products of the defendant with those of the claimant. She concluded that the defendant’s sign was similar to the claimant’s trade mark and that cava was similar to champagne. As such, a likelihood of confusion was established. Moreover, the use of CRISTALINO by the defendant took unfair advantage and was detrimental to the distinctive character enjoyed by the CRISTAL mark, in that the sale of CRISTALINO sparkling wine would reduce sales of CRISTAL champagne.
The defendant was not legally represented and did not attend the trial.