Expatica news

Swiss ‘Champagne’ wins name-ban battle

2 July 2008

GENEVA – The tiny Swiss village of Champagne, banned by a French court from using its name on its local product, on Tuesday won the first stage in a legal battle to overturn the decision.

The village, which has 713 inhabitants, shares its name with the famous French wine-producing region.

Vianney Mallein, who is helping with the village’s campaign, told AFP that there was now renewed hope of winning an appeal of the French ruling, after the Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property granted the local bakery registration of the trademark "from Champagne Switzerland."

"This decision came after a long wait of 12 years," he said.

In April, a Paris court ruled that the local bakery Cornu could not mark its biscuits as "Made in Champagne" – sparking a furious reaction from the village which has 713 inhabitants.

Villagers were particularly incensed as the Paris decision came after local wine-makers have been banned from labelling their wine "Vin de Champagne" since 2004, due to a deal struck between the European Union and Switzerland.

In exchange for Swiss air rights in the EU, the Swiss government acquiesced to the French Champagne wine-makers’ request that the Swiss village would no longer label its eponymous name on its wine.

[AFP / Expatica]