In the dispute over the wine brand "Petrus Lambertini," the court in Bordeaux has ruled in favor of Château Petrus in the first instance, condemning the defendants to a hefty financial penalty, as reported by Vitisphere.
In its judgment of May 16, 2023, the court spoke of deception, defamation, and "parasitic actions" to the detriment of the Petrus company in Pomerol, and sentenced the defendants to a payment of €500,000 for non-pecuniary damage and €680,000 for the profit they made. The Petrus Lambertini brand can no longer be used. Château Petrus had originally demanded €1.3m for defamation, €946,000 for non-material damages, and €1.4m for the profits from the sale of Petrus Lambertini, according to media reports.
"Deception, defamation, and parasitic actions"
The wine merchants Jérôme and Stéphane Coureau, who operate the company, CGM Vins and the online shop Direct Chais, registered their brand "Coureau & Coureau Petrus Lambertini Major Burdegalensis 1208" in December 2010. Since then, Château Petrus has legally fought against what they saw as the "abusive and illegal" use of their brand.
Starting in December 2011, they launched a criminal lawsuit against CGM Vins and initially won in 2016. However, this lawsuit was dismissed in 2019 after several appeals and further proceedings, marking the end of the criminal process. At the same time, a civil case was initiated, which resulted in the above-mentioned judgement.
No Admission of Guilt
Jérôme and Stéphane Coureau have since appealed the verdict. They argue that their brand name refers to "the first mayor of Bordeaux, Petrus Lambertini, who took office in 1208." Furthermore, the label of their wine does not display the keys of Saint Peter, as on the original from Pomerol, but those of the city of Bordeaux. It is also not a wine from Pomerol, but a significantly cheaper blend from the Côtes de Bordeaux appellation. In a press release, CGM Vins said it was seeking to suspend the execution of the measures until the outcome of the appeal.
Château Petrus announced that they welcomed the current decision in Bordeaux and would continue to advocate for the protection of their brand in France and worldwide. "The company wants to guarantee consumers the commercial origin of products labeled with the name 'Petrus' and will take decisive action against any company that uses this name unlawfully," it stated.
Château Petrus is owned by the Moueix family. ITP