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Petrus wins trademark battle over ‘damage to its reputation’

Petrus has won a long-running trademark infringement battle against a French wine brand which has been slapped with a €1.2 million fine for “damaging the reputation” of the famous Pomerol estate. 

The estate celebrated the victory after a court in Bordeaux last week (16 May) found the Petrus Lambertini brand, which is owned by négociants the Coureau brothers, had infringed its trademark.

The convoluted and long-running dispute dates back to 2010, when negociants Jérôme and Stéphane Coureau, along with their businesses CGM Vins trade and Direct Chais ecommerce, tiled a trademark for their Cotes de Bordueax wine brand ‘Coureau & Coureau Petrus Lambertini Major Burdegalensis 1208’, which they said was named after Bordeaux’ first mayor.

Despite objections from Petrus, the trademark was approved, so the well-known Pomerol estate lodged a complaint in December 2011 for “counterfeiting, misleading advertising and deception” over the 15euro wine brand, French language website Vitisphere reported, leading to both a criminal and a civil case.

Although a criminal case into potentially misleading commercial practices was won by Petrus in 2015, against CGM Vins, this was later overturned by the Bordeaux’s Court of Appeal in 2018, and a counter-appeal by Petrus was rejected.

In the meantime, Petrus had filed civil proceedings against CGM Vins, first in 2015 against CGM Vins, and then again in 2020 against CGM and a new company, Direct Chais.

The ruling last week came as an outcome of this second, civil case – although the Coureau brothers have vowed to appeal the decision.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for Petrus said they would “pursue with determination any company which would illegally use its name”, in order to “guarantee to consumers the commercial origin of products identified under the name ‘Petrus’.”

The name Pétrus first appeared in 1837, when the estate was owned by the Arnaud family.



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