CHINA (Beijing) – A long-drawn-out legal dispute between Château Lafite Rothschild (Pauillac) and Château Lafitte (Côtes de Bordeaux) is imminent. This time, the dispute is argued out in China. Currently, Château Lafite Rothschild complained with the Chinese authorities about the registration of the Château Lafitte brand name. It’s the continuation of a dispute between the two estates enduring since 2003; in 2008, it found its preliminary peak in front of the French Supreme Court, which had allowed Château Lafitte to continually use its brand name unrestrictedly.
“As we are one of the best-known brands in China, this is now the continuation of a permanent struggle about the unauthorized use of our name”, a Lafite Rothschild spokesman says. “Since we entered the Chinese market, we’ve had to issue about 300 decrees”.
“We expect to have to face harassment from the Chinese courts”, Philippe Mengin, owner of Château Lafitte, describes his point of view. “We are undoubtedly in a price class other than Château Lafite Rothschild, and our bottles are by no means similar. Now, I’ve no other choice than to get myself into at least two years of legal dispute in China. This will cost a lot of money. Yet, I hope we’ll achieve to obtain a positive decision in France.”
The statement that the bottles are “by no means” similar remains undecided. But Château Lafitte has by all means the seductive chance to take advantage of the renown of a market leader on certain markets. Currently, Château Lafitte is launching a comprehensive advertising campaign in China. This is certainly smart because the press in China is observing the dispute.
The Château of Philippe Mengin, which is exporting about 95 percent of its total production (300,000 bottles), traces its origin back to the year 1763. At that time, Raymond Lafitte purchased the estate and called it after himself. Currently, the Château Lafitte red wines are offered at an average price of 25.50 euro – thus, about 300 euro per case (12 bottles). A case of Château Lafite Rothschild, in contrast, is currently sold at about 7,920 euro, according to the LIV-EX. (red.yoopress)