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The European Wine Companies (CEEV) welcome the ruling of the European Court of Justice against illicit parallel imports into the EU

Brussels, 17 July 2015 – The European Court of Justice (ECJ) just released its ruling in the long-standing case opposing the major spirits company Bacardi Limited and Netherlands-based bonded warehouse Top Logistics (Mevi), regarding the import of genuine branded products into the European Union without the authorisation of the brand owner. The ruling of the ECJ confirms that trademark owners can act against unauthorized imports of their products into the European Union, including in the case of goods stored in a bonded warehouse under a suspension of excise arrangement, and claim compensation for such illegal or illicit imports. 

Launched in 2014, this case raised important issues of principles regarding brand protection and trademark ownership rights, and might have brought about serious negative implications for Europe’s manufacturing sectors, including European wine and aromatized wine products.

As a member of Comité Vins (CEEV) through the Groupe de Liaison des Entreprises Vinicoles Européennes, Bacardi Limited benefited in this case from the full support and mobilisation of CEEV as well as some national wine trade associations, who respectively reached out to the European Commission and national authorities to present them with joint answers to the preliminary questions circulated by the ECJ and urge them to submit a formal statement towards the ECJ.

“As representatives of the whole EU wine industry, we have at heart to ensure that our products be properly defended and that trademark ownership rights be thoroughly enforced. Therefore, we very much welcome this ruling of the European Court of Justice which represents a milestone in the fight against illicit parallel imports into the EU, not only for wine and aromatised wine based products, but for all excise goods.” said Jean-Marie Barillère, President of CEEV.

 

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Notes to Editors:

  • Comité Européen des Entreprises Vins (CEEV – www.ceev.eu) represents the wine companies in the industry and trade in the European Union: still wines, aromatised wines, sparkling wines, liqueur wines and other vine products. It brings together 26 national organisations. With more than 7.000 companies, mainly SMEs, and more than 200.000 direct jobs in the EU, its members produce and market the vast majority of quality European wines, with and without a geographical indication, and account for over 90% of European wine exports.
  • With around €8,9 billion € worth of exports every year, the EU wine sector makes a contribution of over €6,4 billion to the EU trade balance.
  • Bacardi Limited, the largest privately-held spirits company in the world, produces and markets internationally recognized spirits and wines. Founded 153 years ago in Santiago de Cuba in 1862, family-owned Bacardi manufactures its brands at 29 facilities and sells in more than 160 countries all over the world.