News - Protection of the Champagne appellation
French National Industrial Property Institute
The French National Industrial Property Institute (INPI) issues patents, trademarks, design and model rights and provides access to all information on industrial property and companies; it proposes legislation and regulatory policies relating to industrial property and helps fight counterfeiting. The INPI is a public body under the authority of the Ministry of economy, finance and employment.
Trademarks in Champagne
More than 10,000 trademarks are used in the marketing of Champagne wines. Each of these trademarks must first be registered and have a code number issued by the Champagne Committee (the industry's umbrella organisation).
There is no obligation to register a trademark with the INPI and a significant number of Champagne brands have never been registered in this way.
A situation of this kind may be justified in the case of family-name brands used for local-level marketing involving a limited number of bottles. By contrast, when a brand benefits from investment in promotion and marketing, it would appear vital to protect this asset.
Raising awareness about this issue is one of the INPI's key missions, facilitated by the establishment of a permanent INPI representation on the Comité Champagne.
A permanent INPI representation on the Comité Champagne
Inaugurated in February 2005, every month an INPI representative receives Champagne growers wishing to obtain practical and personalised information on intellectual property issues.
This officer (Sébastien Darras) meets with them individually by appointment.
Over the past 10 years, some 500 Champagne growers have taken advantage of this service. Their questions mainly relate to the strategy for registering and protecting trademarks but, occasionally, they also ask about other intellectual property issues such as design and model rights.
Cooperation between the INPI and the Comité Champagne
In addition to holding this monthly surgery, the signing of an agreement in 2005 has resulted in enhanced cooperation between the two bodies as a means of protecting Champagne AOCs, in particular by combating counterfeiting and maintaining their active participation in the field of international cooperation and France's policy of influence regarding intellectual property.
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