A barrel of laughs…..


While this blog usually grapples with serious matters relating to the interrelationship between Intellectual Property and Competition Law, we thought it was time for a more light hearted blog post as some pre festive cheer now that the nights are drawing in and to bring you news of competition of a different kind. If you are the serious type, you may wish to skip this blog for weightier fare and more intellectual discussion of competition in blogs below (and above).(PS have a glass of wine before you start reading to help you get over your groans at the intentional puns in the description below. We wonder if anyone can spot them all….)

On 11 November 2014 the Bristows Competition team (ably assisted by a couple of our Intellectual Property colleagues who have shown a quite unhealthy interest in competition law from time to time) hosted a wine tasting event and a related quiz/competition at our offices in London.

The night was very well attended by a grape bunch of clients from a varietal of sectors some travelling from terroirs far and near (including Brussels and Manchester) to join us, as well as the Bristows vintage: Pat Treacy, Rosemary Choueka, Myles Jelf, Andy Bowler, Sophie Lawrance, Osman Zafar, Helen Hopson, David George, Kate Shires, Edwin Bond, Francion Brooks and Chloe Dickson – many of whom will be recognised by you as regular bloggers on The CLIP Board.

Our taste buds were put to the test by an assortment of challenges at two tasting stations. These included identifying the region and vintage of a selection of wines. To see who really nose their stuff we also identified different aromas and took part in a quiz. We learnt that leaning forward and drawing air in through your mouth helps to identify the acidity level of a wine and acts as a great ice-breaker, but it is best to take a few steps back if you’re standing behind someone! We were not sure how this could be employed effectively in our day jobs – but thought that it might be a handy ice breaking technique at the next dawn raid…

Answer sheets were duly handed in and all attendees lapsed into a well-earned feeling of que syrah, syrah with treats of canapés, cheese, more wine and a chance to discuss our new world knowledge. Plus a bit of competition law gossip and speculation on the side about such timely topics as the forthcoming CJEU Opinions and Judgments on the Spanish Challenge to the UPC and the Huawei/ZTE referral – we kid you not: it is amazing how freely a few well chosen wines can make the brain/tongue function.

The evening was led by wine tasting event company Thirty Fifty, who noted that while we could barrely be called experts the quiz was very well answered by all with no signs of collusion or cartel behaviour – and no one was driven to ask for leniency. Showing all the vigour of a new market entrant, perhaps under the pressure of riesling to the occasion, one of our trainees established true dominance over the subject in hand and scooped the market – sorry, the prize of a fabulous bottle of Viognier…

Helen Hopson and Chloe Dickson