London urban winery Renegade was contacted by a legal firm stating that it represents France’s Champagne Louis Roederer, and claiming the UK producer’s use of ‘Crystal’ on one of its wines infringes the trademark rights of Roederer’s Cristal brand.
Renegade’s Crystal is a pink pet nat sparkling wine produced with Croatina grapes from Italy’s Lombardy region. However, according to Renegade, the law firm said the name is too similar to Cristal, with only the ‘y’ and ‘i’ exchanged.
Lawyers also accused the winery of ‘passing off’, a form of misrepresentation that may have damaged Cristal’s reputation with drinkers.
Renegade founder Warwick Smith said he was surprised to receive the legal letter. ‘It was never our intention to copy or pass ourselves off as Cristal,’ he said. ‘We admire and respect the great work of Champagne houses such as Louis Roederer. We are keen to resolve this amicably with Louis Roederer and their lawyers.’
He said the bottles were ‘completely different’ and the brand names were pronounced differently.