Conflicts in Prosecco wine GI registration between Singapore and AustraliaAAA IPRIGHT2
Wine has always been a delicious but sometimes bitter problem worldwide, particularly revolving around geographical indication. Recently, another conflict has arisen in Prosecco wine GI registration between Singapore and Australia.
Prosecco is an Italian DOC or DOCG white wine produced in a large area spanning nine provinces in the Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia regions, …
While many have mistaken Prosecco to be a type of champaign, it is actually a sparkling wine mostly made in the Veneto region, Italy.
Prosecco wines are most commonly enjoyed in the dry or extra dry style; however, due to the sweet fruity flavors of the grape, it often tastes sweeter than it is.
Prosecco GI Battle
According to a recent ruling by the High Court of Singapore, the word “Prosecco” will not be registered as a geographical indication (GI) in Singapore to label wines exclusively originating from certain regions in Italy.
Specifically, the Consorzio di Tutela della Denominazione di Origine Controllata Prosecco, an Italian association has previously applied for the legal protection of the term “Prosecco” as a controlled designation of origin.
However, they met a huge obstacle in their path when everything seems to have followed the correct path.
Australian Grape and Wine Incorporated (AGWI), an organization of Australian wine grape and wine producers, opposed the application.
The application has been granted back in 2021 by the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS).
However, the decision was reversed by the High Court with decision grounds issued in February 2022 upon appeal by AGWI.
As for the reason, the word “Prosecco” refers to a type of white wine made from the Prosecco grape, to identify wine products produced in specific regions in Northeast Italy exclusively. However, despite this fact, the wine has been produced in many other countries such as Australia, Argentina, Brazil, and Romania using the same grape variety since the 2000s.
The Australian Grape and Wine Incorporated (AGWI) has stated 2 reasons for the rejection of this application.
Firstly, the indication contains a name of a plant variety, the Prosecco grape. Accordingly, AGWI claimed it is likely to mislead consumers about the true origin of the product.
Secondly, the term “Prosecco” itself does not fall within the definition of GI.
In the first ruling by IPOS, the opposition was dismissed as neither of the two reasons was accepted. However, the High Court has reversed this decision, granting the AGWI the winning with the first reason being the critical factor.
Esther Seow, a principal, and Benita Lau, a trademarks associate at Davies Collison Cave in Singapore stated about the GI battle of ‘Prosecco’: “The High Court took a different view from the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore’s registrar on the issue of whether consumers would be misled by registration of ‘Prosecco’.”
They added: “The registrar concluded that this was unlikely based on the evidence, including evidence of the reputation of Italian ‘Prosecco’ in Singapore. In contrast, the High Court was satisfied by the AGWI’s evidence showing that the ‘Prosecco’ grape variety had been cultivated in significant quantities in countries other than Italy. Accordingly, the court concluded that registration of ‘Prosecco’ for wine originating only from certain regions of Italy would be likely to mislead consumers.”
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