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May 30, 2022 View:

French media reports Bordeaux wine industry joint committee wins counterfeiting lawsuit in China

The Bordeaux Wine Industry Joint Committee recently won a major counterfeit wine case in China, securing an unprecedented victory in a criminal action against the collective trademark. Reports in the French press indicate that the fight against counterfeit products has been a priority of the Bordeaux Wine Industry Joint Committee for a decade.

Image from: European Times

Bordeaux wine industry professionals have announced a major victory in their defense of geographical indications, Le Figaro and AFP jointly reported. A defendant was criminally sanctioned in China in early June, accused of falsifying wines at the 2019 Chengdu Wine Fair. In its announcement, the Inter-industrial Committee for Bordeaux Wines (CIVB) noted that a Shanghai Pudong court on June 18 sentenced the defendant to 18 months" suspended imprisonment, fined his company 100,000 yuan (€13,000) and fined him 50,000 yuan (€6,500) for trademark infringement. The trademark infringement involved nearly 10,000 bottles of wine.

Back in March 2019, the Joint Committee of the Bordeaux Wine Industry had already prompted the Chinese authorities to seize a shipment of wine from an exhibitor at one of China's most important trade fairs, the Chengdu Wine Fair. The committee revealed that the counterfeiters had been identified in advance and that preparations had been made with the Chinese government for the seizure of the fake wine. AFP was told that the counterfeit wines involved several Bordeaux appellations and several wines of high repute.

The wine inter-industry committee complained to the Chinese authorities, and the Chengdu intellectual property authorities and Shanghai police were involved in the investigation, which led to the initiation of proceedings against the counterfeiters.

In what the Bordeaux Wine Industry Joint Committee says is the first counterfeit lawsuit it has won in China, the unprecedented victory in a criminal action against a collective trademark such as the CIVB has put the Bordeaux brand on a new path to fight counterfeit products. The group has previously won a number of counterfeiting lawsuits in China, but with a number of other private châteaux, rather than in the name of a collective trademark. The committee also disclosed that the Shanghai Pudong Procuratorate held a press conference on the ruling, indicating that the Chinese government wanted to use the ruling to build momentum in the fight against counterfeiting. The commission stressed that China's recognition of 45 Bordeaux wines in 2016 marked a decisive step forward in the development of Bordeaux wines.

China is the largest sales market for Bordeaux wines, accounting for 23% of total sales (and 27% of total value), and the fight against counterfeit products has been the focus of the Joint Committee of the Bordeaux Wine Industry for a decade, notably by providing training to hundreds of wine agents each year in various provinces and cities in China to combat counterfeit wines.