Wines with similar names spark trademark disputes (by Rod Phillips)

Posted: November 28, 2012 by wynmaker in Wine, World wine news
Tags: , , ,

Brands are as important in the wine world as anywhere else, and now and again there are disputes over infringements, or alleged infringements.


A week ago, a ruling settled a years-long legal wrangle between Château Mouton Rothschild, the prestigious French producer, and Osawa Wines, a small New Zealand winery. Osawa makes a wine called “Flying Mouton” — the label shows a sheep apparently in fight — but Mouton-Rothschild tried to shoot it down because, they claimed, Osawa was trying to deceive consumers by using its trademark. The ruling was in favour of Osawa, so the sheep can maintain its cruising altitude.

I think it’s likely that anyone familiar enough with Mouton Rothschild to be deceived, would quickly realize that Flying Mouton was not the great Bordeaux producer. For one thing, the wine is from New Zealand, not France. And although Osawa might make stellar wine (I’ve never tasted it), and does make a Bordeaux blend, it’s probably not up to Château Mouton Rothschild standards. Finally, the price is a bit of a giveaway: Flying Sheep cabernet merlot 2009 sells for $35, while the average retail price of Château Mouton Rothschild from the same vintage is $1,100.

Although the protection of intellectual property is important, it seems that… read on


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