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10 May 2021
The National Interprofessional Cognac Bureau (BNIC) is a French interprofessional organisation which develops Cognac and represents and defends the collective interests of professional winegrowers and merchants.
In 2016 BNIC filed applications for the registration of the geographical indication (GI) collective trademarks COGNAC and 干邑 ('Cognac' in Chinese) in Class 33. In 2018 such trademarks were preliminarily approved and published.
Zhou Liangbo and Guangzhou Liu Fa Wine Co Ltd filed oppositions against the two trademarks, asserting that the applied trademarks had become generic names for brandy and were thus unregistrable.
To rebut the opponents' claims, BNIC argued that:
To support these claims, BNIC also submitted various evidentiary materials.
On 26 March 2020 the China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) dismissed the opposition requests based on the finding that the opponents' evidence was insufficient to prove that the trademarks 干邑 and COGNAC had become generic names for brandy. The CNIPA found that the applications for registration of the trademarks conformed to the Trademark Law and could therefore be approved for registration. Both trademarks have since proceeded to registration.
GI trademarks indicate the origin, specific quality, prestige or other features of the designated goods and highlight the natural or humanistic factors of the district in which the designated goods are produced. Since GI trademarks are not immune to genericide attacks, owners must monitor how they are used.
For further information on this topic please contact Mei Huang or Xiaoning Pu at Wanhuida Intellectual Property by telephone (+86 10 6892 1000) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com). The Wanhuida Intellectual Property website can be accessed at www.wanhuida.com.
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