19 August 2021 News

Günzel O., Ashes to ashes for cheese featuring the ‘Morbier’ visual appearance?, Journal of Intellectual Property Law & Practice, Volume 16, Issue 4-5, April-May 2021, Pages 293–294

In its ground-breaking decision, the Court of Justice of the European Union has extended protection of a protected designation of origin or protected geographical indication to the reproduction of shape or appearance of the product itself. The Defendant, Société Fromagère du Livradois, had been producing Morbier cheese since 1979. Until 11 July 2007 they used the name ‘Morbier’ without AOC indication. After the expiry of the transition period, Defendant changed the name, but not the appearance of their cheese, from then on marketed as ‘Montboissié du Haut Livradois’. The Claimant brought proceedings against the Defendant before the Tribunal de Grande Instance de Paris (Regional Court, Paris), basically requesting an injunction prohibiting the Defendant from producing and marketing a cheese that would reproduce the visual appearance of ‘Morbier’, and in particular, any use of a black line separating two parts of the cheese. this text aims to present the facts and the legal context, addressing analysis of how the dispute was resolved in the field of the legal protection of intellectual property rights.