Wine Law

Protection of Wine Names by Trademark Law Marie-Elvire de Moro Giafferri1 Introduction; I. An Eligible Sign for Protection as a Trademark; I.1. Definition of Trademark; I.2. Distinctiveness: A Core Function of Trademarks; I.2.1. Commonplace elements; I.2.2. Lack of distinctiveness of descriptive terms; I.2.3. Three-dimensional trademarks and distinctiveness; I.3. A Lawful Sign; I.4. Lack of Deceptiveness and Wine Trademarks; I.4.1. Mandatory connection with the land; I.4.2. A mandatory connection with the wine itself; II. An Available Sign; II.1. Availability Regarding Signs in the Course of Trade; II.1.1. Availability regarding prior trademarks; II.1.2. Availability regarding prior designation of origin or geographical indication; II.1.3. Availability regarding prior signs identifying a legal entity; II.2. Availability Regarding Rights related to Personality and Creation; III. A Legitimate Sign; III.1. A Legitimate Sign at the Stage of Its Application; III.2. A Legitimate Exercise of the Trademark; III.2.1. Legitimate use made by a third party; III.2.2. Legitimate use of the prior trademark. INTRODUCTION Wine is an alcoholic drink made from fermented grapes whose qualities vary depending on the region of origin, the grape variety and the vinification methods. Wine is therefore attached to a particular place and soil, but its commercialisation goes beyond national borders. Even if there is no global wine law, the legal protection of wine is ensured by international, regional and national sources. Complex and multiple legal instruments have been established to ensure the recognition and protection of distinctive designations in respect of origin-based products of quality, i.e. Appellations of Origin (AOs) and Geographical Indications (GIs). Alongside this sui generis protection of the signs or indications of quality and origin, wine names can also benefit from trademark law by filing a name as a 1 Attorney-at-Law, Paris, France.