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Danielle M. DeFilippis
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Danielle M. DeFilippis
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A Dispute is Bubbling Over for the Prosecco Name

A Dispute Is Bubbling Over for the Prosecco Name

As the holidays approach, you may be thinking of that perfect signature cocktail to serve as guests arrive who you may not have seen for a while. Some favorite holiday beverages include the well-known sparkling wine Prosecco. As you sip a mimosa or bellini, think about whether you would be confused if a traditional dessert wine called Prosek appeared in your local liquor store.

Battle Over the Prosecco Name

A battle is raging in Europe over a request by Croatian wine makers for the European Union to accept Prosek as a protected designation. The European Union has a system of geographic designations intended to guarantee the quality and distinctiveness of goods. Prosecco, a product of northeastern Italy, has Protected Designation of Origin status in the European Union. Prosek, on the other hand, has been unable to obtain that status and has recently applied to the EU to change that. Italy is attempting to prevent Croatia from achieving that protected status by asserting that there will be confusion with consumers mistaking Prosek for Prosecco. Croatia has argued that Prosek has been around for centuries and that its product, as a dessert wine made from different grapes, is distinguishable from Prosecco.

While many believe that the introduction of Prosek would cause harm to the Prosecco name and its success, Prosecco is currently the world’s top selling wine with sales of about $2.8 billion.

Geographic Designations

Issues of geographic designations have been front and center lately. We recently reported on the Battle over Black Irish. We also cautioned brand owners to be careful about geographic indications, even those that appear evocative or fanciful, as discussed in one of our recent posts, “When It Is More Than Just a Name – Trademark Significance of Geographic Indications.” 

Whatever the outcome, have no fear – there will be plenty of dessert wine and bubbly wine options to make your holiday gathering a sparkling success.

If you have any questions about this post or any related intellectual property issue, please feel free to contact me at dmdefilippis@norris-law.com.

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Danielle M. DeFilippis
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Danielle M. DeFilippis
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