13 February 2020TrademarksRory O'Neill

Chilean winemaker registers pisco TM despite Peruvian opposition

A Chilean vineyard has prevailed in a UK trademark dispute with the Peruvian IP office, as part of a long-running dispute over the rights to the name of pisco, a brandy produced in the region.

In the decision, issued on Monday, February 10 the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) ruled that consumers would not necessarily associate the term ‘pisco’ with the country of Peru.

The ruling means that the Sociedad Anónima Viña Santa Rita vineyard in Chile can register its label featuring the term as a trademark.

The dispute has its roots in a long-running disagreement between Chile and Peru over rights to the ‘pisco’ term. Peru claims that pisco can only be produced in the country, but Chile has challenged its neighbours’ claims to any exclusive rights for the term.

The IPO ruled this week that it was not clear that the average consumer would necessarily associate the term ‘pisco’ exclusively with Peru.

While INDECOPI, the Peruvian IP office, had provided evidence of activities promoting the brandy in the EU, the IPO said the reach or impact of these promotions was not clear.

“In my view, the case that the relevant consumer would associate the term ‘Pisco’ with Peru is far from made. Consequently, I find that the trademark would not be of such a nature as to deceive the public,” the IPO examiner said.

Both countries produce pisco, but the ingredients and production methods used differ. The parties faced off at an Indian IP tribunal last year over Peru’s efforts to register a geographical indication (GI) in the country for the term.

Chile argued that the GI would grant Peru exclusive rights to label its brandy products under the name despite it producing its own pisco for more than 500 years.

Peru also targeted an Australian winery in 2018 for selling unauthorised versions of pisco. The country owns a GI for the brandy, registered under the World Intellectual Property Organization’s (WIPO) Lisbon Agreement for the Protection of Appellations of Origin.

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11 March 2019   Peru and Chile are embroiled in a geographical indication dispute in India over ‘Pisco’ brandy, with both countries claiming to be the drink’s genuine producers.