Famous french wine brand "Lafite" is swamped by trademark disputes. While suffering from copycat, the owner of "Lafite", Lafite Rothschild Vinery (hereinafter referred to as Chateau Lafite Rothschild) has been in the court in France for a few times due to the trademark dispute with a private company French Chateau Lafitte (hereinafter referred to as Chateau Lafitte). After French Supreme Court ruled allowing Chateau Lafitte retain its trademark "Lafitte" in 2008, it applied to register of "Lafitte" and other trademarks in China in 2011 and afterwards it encountered objections from Chateau Lafite Rothschild. Thereby the trademark dispute between the two spread to China.

In 2011, Chateau Lafitte applied for four trademark registrations in China specifically on the 33rd category of wine and other goods: No. 9223421 "ChateauLafitte", No. 9223422 "ChateauLafitte and logo", No. 9723459 "LafitteMengin" and No. 9723460 "ChateauLafitteMengin" (hereinafter collectively referred to opposed trademarks). The current status of the opposed trademarks process shows "application of objection or supplemental documents received, pending".

Within the statutory period, Chateau Lafite Rothschild applied the objection against the opposed trademarks. It believes the opposed trademarks constitute similar trademarks using on the same or similar goods to the reference mark that was registered earlier; the opposed trademarks contain text "ChateauLafitte" that is similar to the significant identity of its corporate name "ChateauLafite", which is confusion and jeopardizes its prior right of the trade name.

The reference trademarks of Chateau Lafite Rothschild registered in China are No. 1122916 "Lafite" and No. 1122917 "ChateauLafiteRothschild" trademark. They were both applied for registration by Chateau Lafite Rothschild in October of 1996 and then approved for using on the 33rd category of alcoholic beverages (except beers) goods.

Chateau Lafitte said, reference trademarks and opposed trademarks have been coexisting for many years in France. Chateau Lafite Rothschild's purpose of objection is just trying to delay the registration of opposed trademarks and monopolize Chinese market. Therefore, the opposed trademarks should be approved to register.

Chateau Lafitte has applied for revocation of Chateau Lafite Rothschild's No. 1122916 "Lafite" trademark using on the 33rd category of alcoholic beverages (except beers), based on the reason of Chateau Lafite Rothschild unreasonably not using it for three consecutive years. And it gets ready to send Chateau Lafite Rothschild to the court in French for its acts of unfair competition.

(Source: China IP News)