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En gardE! It's turkey drummers at dawn for the duel between Bernard Matthews and the French Ministry for Agriculture
An ongoing feud between the two sides over the trademark Label Rouge was given renewed impetus last week, when Mr Justice Collins ruled that new evidence could be introduced at the forthcoming appeal hearing. A Mayer Brown Rowe & Maw team, led by Ian Wood, succeeded in the first leg of its appeal assault on behalf of the French Ministry. The new evidence is key to the French Ministry's appeal in the High Court. Label Rouge has been used by the French Ministry since 1960. The term identifies produce of a singular quality, including turkeys, but thus far not mini kievs. Bernard Matthews registered Label Rouge as a trademark in 1990 but the French Ministry is arguing for it to be revoked. Despite failing the first time, the French Ministry argued that fresh evidence be considered at appeal. It alleges that Bernard Matthews deliberately registered the trademark as a spoiling tactic to prevent the French from importing turkeys into the UK under the Label Rouge mark. Gallic hackles have risen and carving knives are being sharpened for the April appeal. Following the decision to allow new evidence, Bernard Matthews has been obliged to make a contribution to the ministry's legal costs. The Lawyer understands that it is not a 'poultry' sum. White & Case is acting for Bernard Matthews.