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The Exhaustive Character of the EU Regulation on Geographical Indications of Wines following the European Court of Justice Judgment Port Charlotte II.

Vito Rubino
Keywords: EU trademark, wine, Common Market Organisation, geographical indications, traditional terms

This comment on the Port Charlotte II judgment of 14 September 2017 analyses the position taken by the Court of Justice with regard to the convergence of wine Common Market Organisation (CMO) and the EU Regulations related to the protection of geographical names of other foodstuffs. The Court, starting from some elements of the 2009 BUD II judgment, outlines the same exhaustive character in all the European regulations regarding the matter. On this basis the Court holds irrelevant the previous Portuguese protection of the name “Port- Porto” in order to evaluate the existence of an “earlier right” which could preclude the registration of the trademark Port Charlotte. In this sense the judgment sets aside the previous evaluations of the General Court in 2015, which had reached a different decision. The article analyses the consequences of the Court’s systematic approach to the matter highlighting the elements of the CMO regulation that are not in line with this judgment with specific reference to the competences of the Member States in this field. The comment concludes, therefore, with two different considerations: 1) the EU Commission must take into account this judgment in the ambit of the new regulation of execution of the Single CMO related to wines (which is being done at the present time and will replace EU Regulation No. 607/2009); 2) in the context described it is urgent to re-think the structure of GIs protection in the European Union, limiting the European protection to the best known denominations and products, and leaving the Member States an independent power to protect geographical indications and traditional mentions of other foodstuffs (whose reputation is well known only at a local level).

Vito Rubino, Assistant Professor in European Union Law, Università degli Studi del Piemonte Orientale, Alessandria (Italy), <>, ORCID-ID 000-0001-8143-7797.


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