(CN) – A Finnish spirit maker cannot call its brandy “cognac” because it does not come from the Cognac region of France, the European Union’s Court of Justice ruled.
Finland-based company Gust. Ranin Oy tried to register two trademarks for its spirits as “cognac,” which was challenged by the French Bureau National Interprofessionel du Cognac, an organization for cognac producers.
Finland’s Supreme Administrative Court asked the European Union’s Court of Justice if the Finnish company could call their spirits “cognac,” even though they were not made in France’s cognac region.
The court agreed with the French organization, and ordered Finnish authorities to invalidate the disputed trademarks.
The European Union provides trademark protections for geographic regions, and a trademark can be challenged.
For example, there are legal protections preventing sparkling wine from being labeled as “champagne” if the grapes used to make it did not come from France’s Champagne region.