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Wine brand, registered in Spain, but used only for export?

Yes, it is accepted.

The General Court (GC) of the EU confirmed in a Judgment of September 23 (T-601/19) that the trademark application in the European Union “IN.FI.NI.TU.DE” for beers and wines is confusingly similar to the Spanish brand “INFINITE”, which is used to export wines.

The Portuguese winery Osório & Gonçalves, SA (O&G) applied for the registration in the EU of the trademark “IN.FI.NI.TU.DE”. Miguel Torres S.A. (TORRES), owner of the Spanish brand “INFINITE”, opposed to this application alleging the existence of a likelihood of confusion.

To demonstrate the use of the Spanish brand “INFINITE”, TORRES, represented by Curell Suñol, filed four types of evidence: 18 sales invoices to various distributors in the United States and Canada, volume of those sales, the technical description of the wine and its label.

The GC considers the use of the “INFINITE” brand proven because the evidence shows that the wine is produced and bottled in Spain and is exported and marketed in those two countries. Having resolved this and other issues, it determines that, due to the similarity of the signs and the products, consumers can confuse the trademarks, and refuses the registration of “IN.FI.NI.TU.DE”.

The Spanish press has echoed this Judgment (Expansion, La Vanguardia, etc.):

https://www.lavanguardia.com/vida/20200923/483634757418/tgue-rechaza-que-una-firma-portuguesa-registre-una-marca-de-bodegas-torres.html

https://www.expansion.com/agencia/europa_press/2020/09/23/20200923121434.html

We take advantage of these news to explain a nuance: the Spanish brand “INFINITE” is validly used to export wines, but it has effects only in Spain. In other words, as indicated by the GC, a trademark used for export is a trademark validly used in the territory where export takes place. But the protection that a trademark gives is not infinite: it only applies in the territory where it is registered and while it is in force: 10 years renewable, yes, indefinitely.

If you wish to access the full text of the decision, please click HERE

Written by María Ceballos.

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