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Petrus hails trademark ruling with nearly €1.2m compensation

The famous Pomerol estate has welcomed a new Bordeaux court ruling following accusations that another producer damaged the reputation of the Petrus name, but the decision is subject to appeal.

Lawyers for Petrus said Bordeaux’s Court of First Instance partially upheld the Pomerol estate’s claims in a ruling dated 16 May.

It’s the latest twist in a long-running battle, which has focused on the marketing of ‘Petrus Lambertini’ wine from Bordeaux.

The court ordered the accused parties, including CGM Vins and Direct Chais, to pay €1.18m (£1m) for harming the Petrus trademark’s reputation, and found they had engaged in ‘parasitic’ acts detrimental to the Petrus name, the Pomerol estate’s lawyers said.

They added the ruling was subject to appeal, however.

Bordeaux-based newspaper Sud-Ouest reported that an appeal was highly likely, and this has subsequently been confirmed.

CGM Vins and Direct Chais, plus Stéphane and Jérôme Coureau – who are owners of the two companies – confirmed in a statement they have decided to appeal the court’s judgement against them.

This means the effects of the ruling will be suspended pending the outcome of their appeal, they added.

Petrus originally filed a complaint over the marketing of ‘Petrus Lambertini’ wine with the public prosecutor in December 2011. This led to criminal proceedings concerning the possibility of misleading commercial practices, according to Petrus’ lawyers.

However, a guilty verdict against CGM Vins was overturned by Bordeaux’s Court of Appeal in 2018, and a counter-appeal by Petrus was then rejected by the Court of Cassation.

Petrus had also begun civil proceedings in 2015, and it restarted these in 2020. A spokesperson for Petrus said this week’s ruling is related to this process, and also involves a new company, Direct Chais.

In 2018, Stéphane Coureau, of CGM Vins, told Decanter via email that its official trademark, ‘Coureau & Coureau Petrus Lambertini Major Burdegalensis 1208’, had been legally registered since its creation, and added the wine was named after the first mayor of Bordeaux.

Petrus said in a statement following this week’s civil proceedings ruling that it is committed to protecting its brand in France and globally.

‘The company thus wishes to guarantee to consumers the commercial origin of products identified under the name “Petrus” and will pursue with determination any company which would illegally use its name.’

Updated 23/05/2023, to include confirmation of an appeal against the latest ruling. 

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