Slovakia retains popular wine brand Tokaj

21 April 2014

The producers of Tokaj wine in Slovakia may continue to use the brand name after the CJEU's decision (Case C-31/13P) on 13 February 2014 dismissing Hungary's Appeal and holding that the listing of the Slovak wine name “Vinohradnícka oblasť Tokaj” in the E-Bacchus register of protected designations of origins did not constitute an actionable measure within the meaning of Article 268 TFEU.

The wine-growing region of Tokaj is located in both Hungary and Slovakia.  At Slovakia's request, in connection with the EU's replacement  of the lists of quality wines produced in specific regions ("psr") with the E-Bacchus database, the European Commission registered the protected designation of origin ‘Vinohradnícka oblasť Tokaj’ in the E-Bacchus register.

Hungary challenged the registration and brought an action for annulment of the entry of this protected designation of origin.  The CJEU held that the General Court was correct in its finding that, as the name ‘Vinohradnícka oblasť Tokaj’ was protected automatically under Regulation No. 1234/2001 (as amended) before its entry in the E-Bacchus register, the entry as such was not capable of producing legal effects.  The inclusion of wine names in the E-Bacchus database has no effect on the protection which those wine names enjoy at EU level under the transitional regime which the GC had, rightly, concluded was automatic.

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Authors

Image of Katarina Bujnakova

Katarína Pfeffer

Associate
Czech Republic & Slovakia

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