Food Law Digest - First Edition 2016

Bird & Bird's Food & Beverage Group is delighted to present the first edition of the Food Law Digest in 2016.

In this edition, we report on some recent industry-relevant cases and regulatory findings from Europe, particularly in relation to alcoholic beverages. We also provide an update on the EU Regulation on novel foods that has just entered into force. From Australia, we report on the Food and Grocery Code of Conduct introduced in March 2015, which is set to protect and standardise the way grocery suppliers do business with retailers. Our Italian team also report on their involvement in some interesting Food & Beverage projects.

We hope you will enjoy reading this selection of informative articles. We welcome questions, comments and suggestions, so feel free to get in touch should you have any.

Mark Abell,
Head of the Food & Beverage Group
Eleanor Root,

Our thanks go to London associates Georgie Hart and Toby Sears for their assistance with this edition.


The Australian Food and Grocery Code of Conduct: changing the way food and grocery suppliers do business with retailers

Amy Cowper, Sydney

2015 was a big year for grocery suppliers in Australia. In March 2015, following years of consultation with major food retailers and the Australian Food & Grocery Council (“Council”), the federal government formally introduced into parliament the Food and Grocery Code of Conduct (“Code”). The Code, which is a voluntary prescribed one under the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth) of Australia (“CCA”), includes some significant and important provisions to ensure key elements of grocery supply agreements are discussed and agreed upfront.



Regulation (EU) 2015/2283: Novel Foods' Brave New World?

On 25 November 2015, the new European Regulation on novel foods (Regulation (EU) 2015/2283) was adopted. The text was published in the Official Journal dated 11 December 2015. While the text entered into force on the last day of 2015, most of the regulation provisions will only become applicable from 1 January 2018.


Czech Republic

The famous Czech brewery company wins battle over trademark registration

Andrea Jarolímková, Prague

The prominent brewery company Plzeňský prazdroj ("Prazdroj") will be breathing a sigh of relief as the Czech Supreme Administrative Court confirmed the decision of the Czech Industrial Property Office ("IPO CZ") which refused to register the trademark PILSENER ADLER QUELL because of its similarity to Prazdroj's registered trademark PILSNER URQUELL.



Italian Court upholds the protection of “Vino Nobile di Montepulciano DOCG” as a designation of origin and its related trademarks

Linda Brugioni, Milan

In its decision dated 19 October 2015, the Company Matters division of the Court of Florence (whose jurisdiction encompasses IP matters) ruled on the protection of the designation of origin “Vino Nobile di Montepulciano DOCG” and its related distinctive signs and trademarks.


Bird & Bird Italy host gourmet selection of Food & Beverage events

Francesca Lotta, Milan

This autumn has been rich in events and projects for the Italian Food & Beverage team.



Dietary Supplement advertising in Poland held to be misleading to consumers

Katarzyna Purchała and Krzysztof Korwin-Kossakowski, Warsaw

The Polish Office of Competition and Consumer Protection ("UOKiK") and the Chief Sanitary Inspectorate ("GIS") have recently reviewed advertisements on dietary supplements, and concluded that some of these advertisements are misleading. UOKiK and GIS have called upon producers and distributors to change their approach to advertising such products, and announced that they will carry out an educational campaign on dietary supplements for consumers.



A Japanese meal of miso soup and rice: the EU General Court rules on the interdependence of similarity of signs and similarity of goods in trade mark cases

Linda Brouwer, The Hague

There is nothing more nourishing and enjoyable on a cold day than a hot bowl of soup. The General Court ("GC") recently handed down a tasty judgment concerning Japanese miso soup, which upheld the decision of the Board of Appeal ("BoA") which found that Hikari Miso Co Ltd's ("Hikari Miso") mark was invalid on the basis that there would be a likelihood of confusion between that mark and Nishimoto Trading Co Ltd's ("Nishimoto") earlier mark.



Slovakian advertisement for Spišský Jalovec, a spirit made from fermenting apples and junipers, in breach of Ethical Code on Advertising Practice

Bibiana Mozoľová & Katarína Pfeffer, Bratislava

On 10 September 2015, the Slovak Advertisement Council (“SAC") ruled that the Spišský Jalovec advertisement breached the Ethical Code on Advertising Practice (“Ethical Code”) valid in the Slovak Republic because alcohol advertisements should not state that alcohol acts as a stimulant or sedative nor that it has healing powers, and should not indicate that such effects are possible by its consumption (Art. 35 paragraph 2 of the Ethical Code).



"Cristal" clear: CRISTAL champagne trade mark found by the UK courts to be infringed by CRISTALINO

Hilary Atherton, London

The High Court of England and Wales found that Champagne Louis Roederer's CRISTAL marks registered for champagne and wines were infringed by J Garcia Carrion S.A.'s ("JGC") sign CRISTALINO used on its Spanish cava product imported into and sold in the UK. The judge also upheld Roederer's claim for invalidity of JGC's UK and Community trade marks for CRISTALINO JAUME SERRA.


The UK's Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) upholds complaints against three alcohol marketers

Craig Giles, London

The Advertising Standards Agency (“ASA”) – the body that oversees the UK's self-regulatory advertising codes – has recently upheld three complaints against alcohol marketers. The adjudications serve as a reminder of the responsibilities that alcohol marketers face under the advertising codes, and an illustration of the ASA's powers to review advertising claims in media other than traditional 'paid for' advertising space (including claims on a company's own website).


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