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April 12, 2012

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French winemaker loses case to Shanghai firm

FRENCH winemaker Castel Fresres Sas and its Chinese agent have been ordered by a court in Zhejiang Province to pay 33.73 million yuan in compensation to a Shanghai wine company and its chairman over infringement of trademarks.

The Wenzhou Intermediate People's Court ruled in favor of Shanghai Panati Wine Co and its founder and chairman of the board, Li Daozhi, on Tuesday afternoon.

The French company said in a statement that it was disappointed at the verdict and would appeal.

The court said the French company had been selling wines labeled by the three-character Chinese words "Ka Si Te," a transliteration for Castel for the past six years. But Li had already registered the same Chinese-character trademark as early as 2000, the court confirmed.

The court found Li's company had been using the trademark to label many imported wines to sell them in China. Li filed suit against the French company and its Chinese agent in October 2009.

Besides compensating the Shanghai firm and the trademark owner, the French company and its Chinese agent must stop selling wines carrying the disputed label and make public clarification statements in the media.

Castel Fresres Sas said the verdict was not based on facts and that it would appeal.


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