No domain for champagne!

The Comité Interprofessionnel du vin de Champagne (CIVC), which represents Champagne producers, has failed to obtain the domain name champagne.co from the defendant who had registered over 100 .co domain names in 2010. It was accepted that the Champagne products had rights to the word “Champagne” as a protected designation of origin or geographical indication but these indications were outside the scope of the relevant legislation. The Champagne producers’ organisation would have to show that its rights qualified as an unregistered trade mark to satisfy the necessary requirement. For a geographical indication to have acquired such status it was not enough to rely on the potential eligibility of succeeding in a passing-off case in the UK. It was necessary to show distinctiveness as an identifier of an individual trade source.

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