Riedel sues M&S over ‘Sommelier’ glassware

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

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