Can you see the similarities between these signs?

Click here to view image.

Are these counterfeit trademarks?

No, they are not! These trademarks are owned and used by a single holder who distributes alcoholic beverages. The trademarks on the left are used for business ventures, sponsoring student parties, and festivals, and can be found on various social networks.

In France, the Evin Law of 10 January 1991 has sought to protect young people from the marketing of alcohol by placing drastic limits on the right to advertise alcoholic beverages. However, when a brewer registers and uses “alibi trademarks”, is it a way of circumventing the ban in order to target young people?

If we take a closer look, can we say that these trademarks really do manage to circumvent such a tightly-woven law? There’s no telling. The law clearly states that all advertising in favor of an organization, a service, an activity, a product or an article other than an alcoholic beverage which, through its graphic design, presentation, name use, trademark, advertising emblem, or any other distinctive sign, refers to an alcoholic beverage, shall be considered as propaganda or as indirect advertising for that beverage and is thus subject to the prohibitions or to the strict restrictions provided for by law.

When a brewer takes a distinctive sign from his trademark and reproduces it in an alibi mark, he takes on two major risks: he can be punished for breaching the Evin Law, with no other defense except to claim a lack of resemblance between the two trademarks. However, this defense would have a devastating effect on his leading trademarks by opening up the possibility for competitors to reproduce the distinctive features (such as the red checkerboard, the ribbon, the hop leaf). Is this any different from throwing his trademarks to the dogs?