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Louis Roederer Trial Brief

Louis Roederer Trial Brief

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Published by Seth Leventhal

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Categories:Business/Law, Finance
Published by: Seth Leventhal on Jan 05, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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10/25/2011

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IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURTFOR THE DISTRICT OF MINNESOTA _________________________________ )Champagne Louis Roederer, ))Plaintiff, ))v. ) Civil No. 06-CV-213 JNE/SRN)J. Garcia Carrión, S.A. and )Friend Wine Marketing, Inc. )d/b/a CIV USA, ))Defendants. ) _________________________________)
PLAINTIFF CHAMPAGNE LOUIS ROEDERER’S TRIAL BRIEFI. INTRODUCTION
Champagne Louis Roederer (“Roederer”) brings claims of trademark infringementand trademark dilution against J. Garcia Carrión, S.A. (“Carrión”) and Friend WineMarketing, d/b/a CIV USA (“CIV”). Roederer markets and sells champagne, includingthe premier champagne, CRISTAL. CRISTAL is the flagship brand for all Roederer champagne products. Carrion and CIV market and sell cava, another sparkling wine,under the name CRISTALINO. Roederer seeks, among other relief, a permanentinjunction enjoining use of the CRISTALINO name.The claims of trademark infringement and dilution are based on entirely differentconsumer states of mind. Both are present here. An appreciable number of consumersfalsely believe because of the name CRISTALINO that an inexpensive sparkling wine isthe low-priced offering of the makers of the premier champagne, CRISTAL. A different
Case 0:06-cv-00213-JNE-SRN Document 226 Filed 01/04/10 Page 1 of 18
 
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appreciable number of consumers, knowing the source of the products are different,associate the names CRISTALINO and CRISTAL, diluting the distinctiveness of thefamous brand. In both instances, Defendants trade on the fame and renown of CRISTAL.The Defendants’ use of CRISTALINO on their sparkling wine product is anillegitimate brand extension that trades on the reputation and image of the famous mark,CRISTAL. Consumers likely believe that CRISTALINO sparkling wine is associatedwith, sponsored by, or is in some way connected with the maker of the prestigechampagne CRISTAL. Without consent, Defendants are the beneficiaries of thegoodwill in CRISTAL, built over generations, as a consequence of their use of the nameCRISTALINO. That is trademark infringement.
See Anheuser-Busch, Inc. v. Balducci Publ’ns,
28 F.3d 769, 774 (8th Cir. 1994);
General Mills, Inc. v. Kellogg Co.
, 824 F.2d622, 626 (8th Cir. 1987).Roederer is entitled to exclusive control over the reputation and image of itsfamous mark, CRISTAL, and the consuming public is entitled to be free of confusion,mistake and deception.
See James
 
 Burrough Ltd. v. Sign of the Beefeater 
, 540 F.2d 266,274 (7th Cir. 1976);
 Real News Project, Inc. v. Indep. World TV, Inc.
, No. 06 Civ 4322,2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 41457, *71-72 (S.D.N.Y. May 27, 2008);
Weight Watchers Int’l v. The Stouffer Corp.
, 744 F. Supp. 1259, 1269 (S.D.N.Y. 1990). The fact that the parties’ products are not directly competitive, and that the purchaser of an inexpensive bottle of CRISTALINO sparkling wine knows he or she has not purchased an expensive bottle of French champagne, is of no moment. Product confusion is not the issue. The
Case 0:06-cv-00213-JNE-SRN Document 226 Filed 01/04/10 Page 2 of 18
 
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issue is confusion of association or sponsorship. Only Roederer has the right to sell asparkling wine under the name CRISTALINO.The Lanham Act also entitles the owner of a famous mark to be free from the“whittling away” of the distinctiveness of its brand through dilution by blurring. Inaddition to the consumers who erroneously believe that CRISTALINO is related in someway to the maker of CRISTAL, other consumers now associate the famous brandCRISTAL with CRISTALINO sparkling wine, thereby weakening the distinctiveness of the famous brand. 15 U.S.C. § 1125(c)(2)(B);
Starbucks Corp. v. Wolfe’s BoroughCoffee, Inc.
, No. 08-3331-cv, 2009 U.S. App. LEXIS 26300,
 
*11 (2nd Cir. Dec, 3, 2009).In both instances the reputation and image of the prestige champagne CRISTAL iswrongly attributed to the CRISTALINO product. Roederer is twice harmed byDefendants’ improper conduct.
II. THE CLAIMS AND THE COURT’S JURISDICTION
 Roederer’s claims of trademark infringement and dilution arise under the LanhamAct, 15 U.S.C. §§ 1114, 1125(a), and 1125(c)(1). It also asserts claims under theMinnesota Deceptive Trade Practice Act, M.S.A. § 325D.44 et seq., as well as commonlaw claims of unfair competition. The Court has jurisdiction over the federal claims pursuant to 15 U.S.C. § 1121 and 28 U.S.C. § 1338. It has jurisdiction over the state lawclaims pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1367.
Case 0:06-cv-00213-JNE-SRN Document 226 Filed 01/04/10 Page 3 of 18

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