Protection increased for geographical indications

Provisions of October 2007 have introduced for Geographical indications (GI) new rules such as an accelerated and facilitated procedures in urgent cases, a right of information in civil proceedings, damage awards which may take into account various elements, namely the actual damages of the right holder, profits made by the infringer, the moral prejudice, or alternatively a lum sum based on a license analogy.

The Law also created a civil Court action opened to any organization whose mission is to defend GIs but also to anyone authorized to use them.

dAt the same time, registration of a sign incorporating a GI is more and more difficult as illustrated by the French High Court on March 10, 2008. The Court ruled that trademarks CASA DEL HABANO and CLUB DEL HABANO are deceptive as the public is likely to think the alcoholic and non alcoholic beverages come from Cuba. It does not matter that this place is known to manufacture them. The decision is in accordance with the WINDSURFING decision issued by the CJEC on 1999.

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