S AFRICA: Trademark battle goes against Distell
A court has found in favour of supermarket group Shoprite Checkers against the former Stellenbosch Farmers' Winery (SFW) and Die Bergkelder (now Distell).
The court found that the distinctive flat round "bšcksbeutel" bottle, used by SFW and now Distell for its Grundberger Stein wine since 1951 and registered as a trademark since 1977, should no longer be considered a registered trademark.
It also found that the supermarket group's use of the Spanish phrase 'Muchos Gracias' as the name of one of its own label wines would not be confused in the marketplace with Distell's use of the name Graça, which is another of its established wine brands.
Dr Stuart Gardiner, who represented Shoprite Checkers said the court found that standard bottle shapes with no distinguishing features could not be monopolised as trademarks.
The court action follows the retailer's decision in 2001 to put one of its own label wines in a "bšcksbeutel" bottle and sell it as 'Muchos Gracias'. Distell sought an interdict to prevent these names from being used.
Distell said it had studied the judgement of the court and found enough grounds to warrant contesting these findings.
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