Awards and citations:

1997: Le Prix du Champagne Lanson Noble Cuvée Award for investigations into Champagne for the Millennium investment scams

2001: Le Prix Champagne Lanson Ivory Award for

2011: Vindic d'Or MMXI – 'Meilleur blog anti-1855'

2011: Robert M. Parker, Jnr: ‘This blogger...’:

2012: Born Digital Wine Awards: No Pay No Jay – best investigative wine story

2012: International Wine Challenge – Personality of the Year Award

Friday, 24 January 2014

The difference between orange socks and Champagne: assisting Veuve Clicquot's legal team

You couldn't make it up! 
'seeing the world through Clicquot coloured glasses'.  

Explains why Veuve Clicquot's lawyers think 
their label is the same as Ciro Picariello.
Time to get a new prescription!

Veuve Clicquot is urging a small Italian producer in Campania – Ciro Picariello – to 'evolve' (ie change) its orange label colour to avoid confusion with Veuve Clicquot's orange-yellow one. Veuve Clicquot 'continues to sustain an amicable conversation'.

The orange label of Ciro Picariello

The yellow orange of Veuve Clicquot

As there is no obvious similarity between either the colour or the design of the two labels it is difficult to see why the Italian producer should 'evolve' its label. As for the 'amicable conversation' it is hardly one held between equals. You have to wonder whether Ciro Picariello are being offered the renowned Sicilian alternative.

From the Drinks' Business report: 'The company added: “Veuve Clicquot conducts an active and extensive worldwide policy to enforce its trademark rights against any kind of infringement and in most cases, the issues raised are amicably settled”.'

Hardly surprising given the corporate muscle of Veuve Clicquot, part of the LVMH group, that when they allege that their trademark rights are being 'infringed' that the 'issues raised are amicably settled'! In a similar case in 2001 the Stefano Lubiana winery in Tasmania agreed to change its labels, although they were clearly a different colour to Veuve Clicquot because they just could not afford the legal costs involved – no legal action and 'issues raised amicably settled'

Sometimes people stand up to Veuve Clicquot: Cliquot 'a group of six women’s wear shops in Quebec and eastern Ontario' successfully resisted, with Veuve Clicquot's case being thrown out by the Federal Court of Appeal when VC appealed against an earlier court defeat.   

'The appellant claims that consumers will likely be confused to the point of thinking that the women’s clothing and the champagne originate with the same source, thereby infringing the appellant’s registered trade‑marks contrary to s. 20 of the Trade‑marks Act.'

As Jim's Loire is naturally keen to assist Veuve Clicquot's busy legal team here are some items that they might confuse with their Champagne but I can assure them that they are mistaken: 

Uni-sex, slightly sweaty gym socks
Not Champagne but could perhaps be used as a filter to add flavour  

 Amber light – a Champagne moment when the lights finally change?

Kitchen scissors – time to cut the hyper-active legal team@Veuve Clicquot?

Lewisham Library card – is this London Borough 
trying to add a bit of sparkle?

No waiting but definitely a yellow sign

Sainsbury's carrier bag – the colour might possibly 
confuse Veuve Clicquot's lawyers...

Sparkling shirt but not Champagne!   
But does feature bottles of 'Wrecked – premium lager'

Elizabeth Shaw – Dark Chocolate Orange Flutes –
obvious potential confusion with Champagne glasses 
time for 'amicable discussions to evolve name'? 

'Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label'

'Wolf Blass – Yellow Label'
Now I'm getting confused – is this Australian Veuve Clicquot?
And is that a legal eagle on the label?

Barefoot Shiraz – very similar colour – so clearly sparkling red Veuve Clicquot...

I didn't know Veuve Clicquot made Rioja!

Thank goodness the shelf talker says – 'Yellow label'!
Otherwise it would have thought it was Veuve Clicquot Orange Label...

Veuve Clicquot say this label is yellow – 'Eyes on the Yellow Label prize'
but is almost orange

Red Champagne from central Italy?
I think I'm getting the hang of this!

Yellow label Rioja 

Potential slight confusion – producer's name starts with a C
and flying kangaroo is yellow with orange stripes 

 At least this is clear – can't be Champagne as 'no added sugar'
Phew finally on firm ground! 

Dyno – UK specialists in clearing blocked drains 

Despite their orange livery Dyno can be pretty confident that even Veuve Clicquot's zealous lawyers won't claim that Dyno, who unblock drains, might be confused with Veuve Clicquot Champagne....     


Wink Lorch said...

Jim, should I be worried about the cover of my forthcoming book on Jura wine? As it obviously will be sparkling (and there is a section in it on sparkling wines too), if I don't change it before publication do you think I will have to endure long but amicable discussions with VC's legal team? Please advise. Or do you think the whole production of Vin Jaune is under threat?

Jim's Loire said...

Wink. A well placed source has told me that you need to take great care if you are to avoid the Sicilian alternative. Turning to Jura wines as a whole there is a growing belief that Vin Jaune could be highly confusing to the consumer, so 'amicable conversations' may soon start. The solution proposed is likely to be an evolution to Vin Noir or Vin Bleu. Vin Noir is likely to be the more popular choice as it adds an artistic element to Juar wines, while Vin Bleu could be risqué! I hope this helps.

Wink Lorch said...

Thank you, Jim - I'll convey these learned thoughts to the Jura wine producers, though I fear they may see red.

Luc Charlier said...

No, not "Vin Noir". It is almost coined as being Cahors. And I've been told the Montpezat family will start a law suit against any contradictor. There's definitely s'thing rotten in the kingdom of Denmark.
As of "Vin Bleu", you risk a process against "Blue Nun".
Difficult business, packaging!