A decision in the Supreme Court put to an end 20 years of legal wrangling over a much older issue.
Renaud Cointreau & Cie (RC) operated the famous French Cordon Bleu cooking school, since 1895. They claim to have established this style of cooking and trained many people from all over the world including one Lourdes Dayrit.
Meanwhile Ecole de Cuisine Manille Inc (ECM) a business run by Ms Dayrit, operated a restaurant business and had been using the CORDON BLEU mark since 1948 in the Philippines.
RC filed an application for its CORDON BLEU trademark in 1993, but ECM filed an opposition. So started 20 years of legal wrangling. The opposition was decided in 2006 and ECM won as first registrant. RC then appealed to the Director General who accepted their appeal. So ECM appealed to the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court ultimately decided for RC on the basis of its long use and fame and because ECM had no legitimate explanation for use of the mark. The court affirmed that first registration must be by the legitimate owner of the mark, as a matter of fairness.