Nowadays simply the name of a product can have a big influence over sales – and of course this includes the name ‘cognac.’ Appellations of origin, geographical vineyard location and trademarks can have a huge effect on how customers view a product and are powerful advertising tools. Because of this, European law gives AOC cognac almost complete protection due to the high profile of the region and its products.
The reputation of ‘cognac’ is so great that it can challenge any other product that attempts to use the name, or anything similar. For example, the 2004 ruling against the name ‘Konyagy’ to be used to describe alcoholic beverages, beer, clothing and soft drinks. The name ‘Royal Cognac’ was refused as a trademark in 2008 because of the connotations towards the drink – and notably not allowed to be used to describe diamonds.
So great is the power of the name ‘cognac’ is that two national courts have this year ruled against other companies cashing in on the name. The criminal court of Hungary ruled in January of this year that the company Kiskőrös were to destroy thousands of bottles of ‘konyak’ that had been captured by customs officers on the basis of the European Regulation act 110/2008.
But a second ruling in the court of Istanbul went even further. The court ruled that ‘cognac’ is a geographical region that enjoys a significant reputation in Turkey and cannot be used as a trade mark – even for products other than alcohol.
These rulings show that the super reputation of cognac is being increasingly recognised, even outside the borders of Europe. Which of course, can only be a good thing.