Riedel sues M&S over ‘Sommelier’ glassware

15th May, 2017 by Rupert Millar

Austrian glassmaker Riedel has brought a lawsuit against UK retailer Marks & Spencer for what it calls infringement of its trademark.

Riedel’s owner, Tiroler Glashütte, has reportedly filed a lawsuit against M&S over the latter’s ‘Sommelier’ range of glasses which are a little too close to Riedel’s ‘Sommeliers’ range for its liking.

As reported in The Sunday Times, Riedel complained to M&S in October last year but the retailer wrote back to deny any liability.

In its lawsuit Riedel apparently alleges that M&S tried to claim ‘sommelier’ was a “generic term for glassware”.

“In reality,” said Riedel, “it describes an expert in wines.”

While this is true, it is possible that M&S was trying to argue that ‘sommelier’ is a generic term that might be applied to wine glasses rather than coming up with an alternative meaning for the term.

M&S’s ‘Sommelier range covers glasses for reds, whites (including ‘refreshing’ whites), Champagne, Port, a tall mixer and cocktails. A set of four glasses costs around £29.50.

Riedel’s ‘Sommeliers’ line meanwhile covers a much greater range with glasses suited for, as is Riedel’s calling card, styles of wine and regions ranging from Alsace to vintage Champagne, Hermitage, Burgundy, malt whisky and the Loire. A single stem can cost up to £125.

A hearing is reportedly scheduled for Wednesday this week. Both Riedel and M&S declined to comment on the on-going proceedings.

6 Responses to “Riedel sues M&S over ‘Sommelier’ glassware”

  1. Alex S says:

    Buy Zalto.

  2. A difficult one for Riedel to win, this – they don’t own the word ‘sommelier’ and it would appear that Riedel’s accurate definition of the word is irrelevant. I present wine tastings in Spain, I could call them ‘The Sommelier Tastings’ and, I’m sure, couldn’t be challenged by Riedel if I don’t use their extremely expensive glasses!

    • Piwe says:

      The issue is not about using their glassware to do wine tasting by a sommelier, it’s about calling a product the same name as an already existing product, I imagine, if someone else started naming their tasting sessions ‘The Sommelier Tastings’ you would have grounds to sue, especially if this was negatively impacting your business financially, which I believe is the reason for suing

  3. Regina M Lutz says:

    Seems to me that M&S knew full well they would be capitalizing on Riedel’s reputation for distinctive stemware and thought, ‘why not’?

    M&S should find another way to sell their glasses…….

  4. karl A Kuchler says:

    BUY EISCH GERMANY – MUCH BETTER THAN RIEDEL’S SERIES

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please note that comments are subject to our posting guidelines in accordance with the Defamation Act 2013. Posts containing swear words, discrimination, offensive language and libellous or defamatory comments will not be approved.

Subscribe to our newsletters

ViVAS Wine - Category Development Manager

ViVAS
Harlow and Stowmarket or Salisbury, UK

Fine Wine Logistics Coordinator

IG Wines
London, GB

Brand Ambassador East Coast USA - Ableforth’s

Maverick Drinks
New York - field-based, USA

Brand Ambassador West Coast USA - Ableforth’s

Maverick Drinks
San Francisco / Los Angeles - field-based, USA

Global Travel Retail Manager

Maverick Drinks
London, UK

Portfolio Ambassador - Europe

Maverick Drinks
North West Europe - field-based, UK

Senior Partner Manager - Grocery

Maverick Drinks
London/Field Based, UK

Sales Executive

Woolf Sung Ltd
London

Trade Marketing Manager - Maverick Drinks

Maverick Drinks
London / Kent

Business Development Executive Central London

William Grant & Sons UK
London

Almaviva 2015 Vintage and Vertical Tasting

London,United Kingdom
28th Sep 2017

TFWA World Exhibition & Conference

Cannes,France
1st Oct 2017

Franciacorta London Festival

London,United Kingdom
2nd Oct 2017
Click to view more

Global Chardonnay Masters 2017

Deadline : 29th September 2017

The Global Riesling Masters 2017

Deadline : 29th September 2017

Click to view more

Champagne Masters 2017

The only Champagne blind tasting in the UK, the competition will reward the best wines in the following categories:

The Global Rosé Masters 2017

With wines from the palest of pink to almost ruby red, bone dry to almost cloyingly sweet, reductively handled to barrel-aged, as well as gently spritzy to fully sparkling.

Click to view more