Laffite/Lafitte battle spills over into China

Posted by Rachel England on 18 February 2014

The ongoing battle between Lafite Rothschild and Chateau Lafitte over the registration of the Lafitte name has spread to China.

Lafite Rothschild had complained to China’s trademark office over the registration of the name by the Bordeaux competitor, claiming that: “As one of the most recognised brand names in China, this is part of an ongoing battle to control the unauthorised use of our name in various global markets.”

The development is the latest in a long history of dispute between the two French estates, which began in 2003 and saw France’s highest appeal office rule in favour of Lafitte keeping its name in 2008. So far, Lafite has launched around 300 injunctions against the rival in China alone.

Phillippe Mengin, owner of Chateau Lafitte, told that he believes his company is now being subjected to “judicial harassment”, noting that: “We are clearly not in the same price bracket at Lafite Rothschild, and in no way resemble them visually. I now have no option but to spend another two years in legal action, and a vast amount of money, to defend the same principle that I have already proved in France.”

A Chateau Lafitte vintage 2010 currently sells for around £20 per bottle in Europe, while a 12-bottle case of Lafite Rothschild’s vintage 2010 has a market price of £6,500, according to the Liv-ex trading platform.

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