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Arnault loses battle against small Bordeaux producer

In the same week Bernard Arnault won €40m from internet auction giant eBay, he lost a case against a small Bordeaux wine producer.

In 2005 the head of luxury group LVMH and co-owner of Chateau Cheval Blanc took a fraud action against Bordeaux AOC producer Alain Signé of Domaine de Cheval-Blanc Signé.

Arnault was trying to stop Signé using the name Cheval Blanc on his wine.

Signé, whose 11.5ha vineyard is located in the small hamlet of Cheval-Blanc, in Bordeaux’s Entre deux Mers region, decided to fight the case and won on appeal.

‘I am not surprised I won,’ he said. As well as establishing the right to use the name on his bottle, was also awarded €8,000 in costs.

‘It was a real David and Goliath battle but I never worried. I know where I am from and I registered the name before them,’ he said. ‘On my mother’s side we have been making wine in the area since the 1600s.’

the judge in the appeals case took into account the fact that Signé had registered the name, and the place name of the vineyard, before Arnault.

He also ruled that Cheval-Blanc, with a dash, was part of a name, rather than a name in itself.

This week EBay was ordered to pay €40m (£31.5m) in damages to LVMH for selling fake handbags, perfumes and haute couture.

Written by Sophie Kevany

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