Lawyers for Bordeaux first growth Chateau Mouton Rothschild have started legal proceedings against a small-scale wine estate in Burgundy that also uses the Mouton name.
Domaine Mouton (pictured) is being asked to pay up to €410,000 in damages to Mouton Rothschild‘s owner, Baron Philippe de Rothschild (BPHR).
Lawyers for BPHR object to the Burgundy estate using the Mouton name on its own. ‘They want me to add something, like my first name, or “father and son”,’ according to Laurent Mouton, whose family estate has 12ha of vines in Givry and Givry 1er Cru in Burgundy’s Cote Chalonnaise. It produces up to 60,000 bottles annually.
The dispute is the latest in a string of complaints by top wine estates against smaller producers over trademark infringement.
‘They say that I am a usurper,’ Laurent Mouton told Decanter.com. ‘I wish to preserve the name Domaine Mouton. I do not see why I should justify myself or my name. Their family name is Rothschild, not Mouton.’
A spokesperson for Baron Philippe de Rothschild declined to comment ‘in order to protect the legal process underway’.
In November 2012, Mouton Rothschild lost a similar dispute to New Zealand’s Osawa Wines. New Zealand’s intellectual property office backed Osawa’s ‘Flying Mouton’ brand name.
Written by Chris Mercer