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“Scotch Whisky Association”

Decision of the European Court of Justice (Fifth Chamber) 7 June 2018 – Case No. C-44/17
  • Scotch Whisky Association v. Michael Klotz Regulation (EC) No 110/2008, Art. 16(a)–(c), Annex III
Decision • Trade Mark Law European Union
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  1. 1.

    Article 16(a) of Regulation (EC) No 110/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 January 2008 on the definition, description, presentation, labelling and the protection of geographical indications of spirit drinks and repealing Council Regulation (EEC) No 1576/89 must be interpreted as meaning that, for the purpose of establishing that there is ‘indirect commercial use’ of a registered geographical indication, the disputed element must be used in a form that is either identical to that indication or phonetically and/or visually similar to it. Accordingly, it is not sufficient that that element is liable to evoke in the relevant public some kind of association with the indication concerned or the geographical area relating thereto.

     
  2. 2.

    Article 16(b) of Regulation No 110/2008 must be interpreted as meaning that, for the purpose of establishing that there is an ‘evocation’ of a registered geographical indication, the referring court is required to determine whether, when the average European consumer who is reasonably well informed and reasonably observant and circumspect is confronted with the disputed designation, the image triggered directly in his mind is that of the product whose geographical indication is protected. In making that determination, the referring court, in the absence of (1) any phonetic and/or visual similarity between the disputed designation and the protected geographical indication and (2) any partial incorporation of that indication in that designation, must take account of the conceptual proximity, if any, between the designation and the indication. Article 16(b) of Regulation No 110/2008 must be interpreted as meaning that, for the purpose of establishing that there is an ‘evocation’ of a registered geographical indication, account is not to be taken either of the context surrounding the disputed element, or, in particular, of the fact that that element is accompanied by an indication of the true origin of the product concerned.

     
  3. 3.

    Article 16(c) of Regulation No 110/2008 must be interpreted as meaning that, for the purpose of establishing that there is a ‘false or misleading indication’, as prohibited by that provision, account is not be taken of the context in which the disputed element is used.

     

Keywords

Glen Buchenbach Geographical indications Spirit drinks Scotch whisky Whisky produced in Germany Concepts of ‘indirect commercial use’, ‘evocation’ and ‘false or misleading indication’ of a registered geographical indication 

Copyright information

© Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition, Munich 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Scotch Whisky Association v. Michael Klotz Regulation (EC) No 110/2008, Art. 16(a)–(c), Annex III

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