22 February 2017Jurisdiction reportsAurélia Marie

The right to protect a geographical name

The Court of First Instance and the Paris Court of Appeal both rejected the Laguiole local authority’s action.

The judges considered that, for products other than the knives which originally made the region famous, consumers could not reasonably purchase them making a link with the Laguiole area. This was based on a survey carried out by the Laguiole local authority which, unfortunately for its 1,300 inhabitants, concluded that 53% of the respondents had not heard of the village. The courts also held that the local authority was not entitled to bring actions without demonstrating that the goods and services covered by the contested trademarks hindered or were liable to hinder its own activities.

Supreme Court has its say

The Supreme Court delivered quite a different assessment of the Laguiole case and partially overturned the judgment of the Paris Court of Appeal.

It ruled first that “a commercial practice is deemed deceptive where it contains false information or is liable to mislead the average consumer and materially affects the economic conduct of the latter by causing it to take a commercial decision which it would not have taken otherwise”.

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