Côtes de Bordeaux producer Château Lafitte has claimed to have won a two-year trademark dispute with Château Lafite Rothschild in China.
Chateau Lafitte said that it has won the right to sell its Bordeaux wine under its own chateau name in China. But, first growth Chateau Lafite Rothschild declined to comment on the latest development in the case, other than to indicate that it did not consider the matter finished.
The dispute over the use of the name ‘Lafitte’ dates back to 2003 in France. In 2008 the Court of Appeal in Paris granted the estate the right to keep using a name that dates back to 1763, when it was owned by Raymond Lafitte.
The battle continued within the Chinese market, where Lafite Rothschild has been subjected to various unauthorised uses of its name, and has brought hundreds of lawsuits over trademark infringement.
In 2013, the Pauillac first growth estate registered a complaint with the Chinese trademark office asking that it overturn the registration of Château Lafitte.
The Administration of Industry and Commerce (AIC) ruled on 19 August 2015 that it would not uphold the complaint because there was no risk of consumer confusion.
‘We have waited a long time for this result,’ Philippe Mengin, owner of Château Lafitte, told Decanter.com.
‘Our brand is now protected in China just as it is in France. The two brands co-exist in France and there is no reason why they can not in China also. We are for different consumers and at different price points, and the trademark office has agreed.’
Around 50% of the production of Château Lafitte, which uses Michel Rolland as a consultant, is sold within China.