Fort de France 1st Instance Court - M. Gontran Rupaire v/ Société DENEL confitures et jus de fruits tropicaux S.A.S.

Decision date

2016-12-13

Decision No.

14/00394

Nature

Trademarks

Jurisdiction

Fort de France First Instance Court

Parties

M. Gontran Rupaire v/ Société DENEL confitures et jus de fruits tropicaux S.A.S.

The company DENEL SAS was represented, in defence by Caroline CASALONGA, Attorney at law, assisted by Pascaline VINCENT, Attorney at law.

Issues:

  • - Protection of the Caribbean culinary heritage
  • - Prohibition measures

In this case, Mr. Marcel Rupaire, a beekeeper, brought an infringement against DENEL on the ground of its French tardemarks DOUCELETTE, signs registered as word and semi-figurative marks to designate, in particular, sweetmeat. In addition of prohibition measures, Mr Rupaire requested the payment of 80,000 euros in compensation for his alleged damage.

DENEL challenged the validity of the word trademark DOUCELETTE which was opposed to it for lack of distinctive character. Indeed, the “doucelette” is a well-known confectionery made from coconut and that is part of the Caribbean culinary art.

DENEL also requested the revocation of the rights of Mr. Denel on his French semi-figurative trademark DOUCELETTE for lack of genuine use for the products and services designated in its registration as of November 5, 2009, that is to say prior to the litigious facts.

The Court of first instance of Fort de France followed the arguments developed CASALONGA for the company DENEL and pronounced the cancellation of word mark DOUCELETTE considering that this term constituted the usual denomination of a Caribbean confectionery and pronounced the revocation of the rights of Mr Rupaire on his semi-figurative mark from 5 November 2009.

No act of infringement could therefore be reproached to DENEL after that date.

Mr Rupaire was condemned to pay the sum of EUR 15,000 to DENEL, under Article 700 of the French Civil Procedure Code, in addition to the provisional execution.