Moet subsidiary in legal battle over Krug trademark

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 09 March, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 09 March, 2013, 5:03am

A company has sought an injunction against international wine auctioneer Acker Merrall & Condit Asia to stop the wine auctioneer from infringing on its trademark for Krug champagne.

MHCS SCS filed its claim against the auctioneer through its Hong Kong lawyers at the High Court on Thursday.

The firm, based in Epernay, France, was listed as a subsidiary of LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton - which owns the celebrated champagne house - in a 2011 document on its website.

Krug, based in Reims, France, and founded in 1843 by Johann-Joseph Krug, is one of the Grandes Marques champagne houses. LVMH says it is the only champagne house specialising exclusively in making cuvees de prestige, or top proprietary-blended champagnes.

The registered trademarks the company is seeking to protect include two based around the word Krug - one the letter "K", one a crest - and another which is the image of two bottles.

In the filing, the company seeks an order from the court to stop Acker Merrall Asia and any of its staff, officers and representatives from infringing the five trademarks. It also wants an injunction to prevent Acker Merrall passing off, or attempting to pass off, goods as those of MHCS when they are not.

It also demanded unspecified damages from the auction house.

Acker Merrall in the United States could not be immediately reached for comment.

Acker Merrall describes itself as the world's leading wine auctioneer and America's oldest fine wine merchant.

The family business was founded in 1820.

Its first Hong Kong auction in 2008 resulted in record prices being paid for champagnes, burgundy and Bordeaux reds.

One case of Chateau Le Pin 1982 went for HK$823,000, a record at the time for the Bordeaux vintage.

Subsequent auctions have also fetched record prices.