Bureau national interprofessional du Cognac (BNIC) V Gust. Ranin Oy
Gust is a Finish company who applied in 2001 for two figurative trade marks in respect to a bottle-label that included the name of French town ÂCOGNACÂ in class 33. Since the trade marks were first registered, Article 16 of Regulation 110/2008 (Âthe Spirits RegulationÂ) had been enforced. Consequently, the trademarks faced a series of opposition, and the case was appealed all the way to the Finish Supreme Administrative Court. Eventually, both trademarks were registered. However, the case alluded to a series of questions that were then referred to The European Court of Justice (ECJ) for preliminary hearing.
The ECJ ruled that trademarks that contain a geographical indication (GI) in regard to goods that do not meet the specifications set out for that GI, must then be invalidated and all future applications must be refused. They also ruled that the Spirits Regulation is applicable to the validity of a trade mark that was registered before Article 16 of Regulation 110/2008 was enforced.
This ruling will affect all future decisions made in reference to trademarks that include a geographical indication.