The Austrian winemaker in a trademark dispute with Champagne Krug has said that agreeing to the Moet Hennessy-owned firm's demands would mean 'total submission'.
A tale of two Krugs: Champagne Krug (left) is worried about trademark infringement in Austria
Champagne Krug said late last week that it has restarted an ‘amicable conversation’ with a wine producer in Austria, which uses its own Krug family name on bottles.
The French Krug, owned by billionaire Bernard Arnault‘s LVMH group, believes consumers could confuse Austrian Krug wines with its own trademark, which has been registered in Austria since 1960.
However, Gustav Krug, owner of the Austrian producer, has accused the Champagne house of acting aggressively.
‘To accept Krug Champagne’s proposal that was made during the negotiations would have meant total submission,’ he told decanter.com.
‘I want to underline the fact that I have always been interested in peaceful coexistence, but not in total submission.’
He said Champagne Krug sent a declaration letter asking him to agree to change his labels and company name, as well as sign over ownership of the Krug.at domain name.
Since 2007, when the dispute first arose, Gustav Krug said he has added his winery’s home town of Gumposoldskirchen to labels in order avoid any potential confusion.
But, Champagne Krug said it raised further concerns last year after it learned that its Austrian counterpart had produced sparkling wine.
‘Usually, I solely produce still wine, only this year I produced minimal amounts of sparkling wine (frizzante), primarily to sell to my tavern’s guests in the summer,’ Gustav Krug said. ‘I do not think that anybody in the wine market will mistake my wine with Krug Champagne.’
Krug Champagne said, ‘the House of Krug has not entered into a lawsuit against Krug Gumpoldskirchen and both continue to sustain an amicable conversation’.
Written by Chris Mercer