The Greek wine industry is a traditional industry of the Greek primary sector including a few large wineries, many medium-sized as well as local wineries and associations of agricultural cooperatives. Wine imports from abroad are limited, whereas in the domestic market the large wineries control the biggest share of bottled wine sales, offering their products through extensive distribution networks throughout the country. Counterfeiting is a problem, also when it comes to alcoholic beverages. Especially in the wine sector, the selling, import- export and distribution of ‘fake wines’ is quite common. Trade mark registration and enforcement are naturally considered the most effective solutions against counterfeiting. Therefore, registering trademarks is of paramount importance.
A trade mark is a valuable asset that mainly serves as a source identifier and it can be protected following its registration. Since trade mark protection is territorial, a trade mark registered in Greece will only be valid and protected within the country. However, a trade mark can enjoy protection in the 28 countries of the EU with a single application to the EUIPO, or even internationally, by registration at the WIPO.
In case registration is sought for a national trade mark, the procedure is usually completed within 6-9 months whereas the official fees for a trademark application amount to € 110,00 for the first class and € 20,00 for each subsequent class. The registration can last indefinitely, provided that the trade mark is renewed every 10 years following its filing. In order to avoid rejection, the trademark should not be devoid of any distinctive character or descriptive, i.e. only describe the kind, quality, quantity, intended purpose, value, geographical origin or the time of production of the goods or other characteristics of the goods or services that it covers and shouldn’t have become customary in the current language or in the bona fide and the established practices of trade.
In Greece, counterfeiting is prohibited and punishable by both civil and criminal law. Once a trademark has been registered, it confers to its proprietor the exclusive right to affix the sign to his goods and/or their packaging, to place the goods on the market and to prevent all third parties not having his consent from using in the course of trade, any sign which is identical to his registered trademark, but also to prohibit the mere transit through Greek territory of counterfeit products that have another country as their final destination.
The applicable legislation concerning the customs enforcement of Intellectual Property rights, grants the power to Customs Authorities, where there are valid suspicions regarding the infringement of IP rights, to suspend the release of the goods or detain them. The customs authorities may proceed to the destruction of the goods, if the rights holder confirms within 10 days (or 3 days for perishable goods) in writing, that in his view an IPR is being infringed and that he agrees to the destruction of the goods.