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AUTHENTIQUE

CATALOGUE PERNOD FILS

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VI

 

Pernod and Sons absinthe has now spread to all parts of the world; this is no exaggeration; to be convinced it is enough to attend the loading of the wagons, which, on shipping days, come to line up along the docks of the factory. The destination indicated on each case permits us to follow the famous liqueur in our imagination to the most diverse latitudes, to Canada, the Argentine Republic, Mexico, Cochin China and the Sudan.

France was its first and is still its principal outlet. It was introduced into the remote areas by our soldiers for whom it neutralized the effects of the fever produced by the bad quality of the water and the noxious miasmas of the marshes; - and by the many foreigners who for business or pleasure visit our country; after having been introduced to the true Pernod and sons absinthe in the cafes of our towns and aboard our steam liners, our guests, once back home, are not satisfied any more with substitutes and require the authentic trademark.

One should not be astonished that the reputation of the brand, that the prosperity of the House of Pernod and Sons, have sparked much covetousness. They are indeed numerous, those who have sought and still seek to exploit for their own profit a situation acquired by a century of conscientious work and ceaseless effort; numerous, those which, under a banner of respectability, spread shameful products.

To safeguard its own interests and those of the public which has placed its confidence in it, it is a daily fight which the House of Pernod and Sons must take to the unscrupulous industrialists who provide it with unfair competition.

One cannot imagine the various forms this competition takes; to get an idea of it, it is necessary to peruse the legal archives of the firm, into which every year come to be filed some new judgements, some new arrests.

First there is the counterfeiter himself, who eschews complex schemes and goes right for the goal; that type simply orders, from an engraver with an elastic conscience, a false seal imitating that of the House of Pernod and Sons; he affixes it onto bottles he provides himself, carefully chosen primarily because their labels are still intact; needless to say filling those bottles beforehand with an absinthe of inferior quality bought at a low price. This fraud cannot be practiced a long time; sooner or later a misled consumer perceives the trickery; moreover the (Pernod) firm is vigilant; the false seal inevitably has differences from the authentic seal which do not escape the experienced eyes of its agents; the counterfeiter is sure to see a good correctional judgement soon putting a stop to his dishonest activity.

Another more astute process consists in imitating as close as possible the appearance of the Pernod and Sons bottle, the seals of glass and wax which characterize it and especially the label whose colors and design are reproduced most faithfully. It is a question of creating in this way, between the two bottles, a resemblance such that the inattentive or illiterate purchaser voluntarily accepts the imitation for the true product. This game is dangerous and many an industrialist who has ingeniously come up with a label similar enough to that of the House of Pernod and Sons to create confusion, and dissimilar enough to dodge a fraudulent imitation lawsuit, - has seen his calculations thwarted. With good reason the Court has trouble believing, when some labels mistakenly resemble those of a reputable firm, that this similarity is the result of pure chance, they are always inclined to see rather the proof of illicit intent.

It is said, if the counterfeit is actually theft, the fraudulent imitation constitutes a true breach of trust, a swindle, and the Courts will never fail to severely repress this way of appropriating the good of others, of attacking the honor, the reputation of another, while often endangering the health of the too trustful consumer. The House of Pernod and Sons has no complaint about the results obtained in the keen war that it wages against the imitators of its trademark. It would be tiresome to mention here the various judgements rendered in its favor in similar affairs. Let us limit it to citing one judgement returned on May 20, 1884 by the Court of Chalon on the Saone and upheld the following 21st of November by the Court of Appeal of Dijon, in the case between Mr. Pernod and Sons and Mr. S..., distiller. This judgement notes that " the label filed by Pernod and Sons" at the Clerk's office of Pontarlier, comprised notably of the "federal Swiss cross surmounted by a cap, as the principal figurative element, along with the dimensions, the arrangement and the colors on the label, constitute the exclusive property of Pernod and Sons as its trademark."

It is a fact known to everyone that the product made in the factory of Mssrs. Veil Picard is not called in public by the name absinthe. To distinguish it from similar products, its fans call it by the name of its manufacturer and, everywhere today, at the aperitif hour, it is a Pernod for which they ask.

It is also Pernod that the customers of the firm ask for in their letters of invoice.

This detail has not escaped the attention of certain competitors.

All the large firms have been wounded by homonyms; all, at some time, have seen arise in their vicinity, sometimes in the same town, individuals hitherto unknown in industry, without special knowledge, without money but with by sheer chance the advantage of bearing a respected name; they have seen their correspondence intercepted, confusion put into their business relations, their customers diverted, all to the profit of an industrialist whom by good luck managed to get his hands on a homonym and was willing to trade illicitly on his name.

Recent lawsuits concerning our best champagne houses reveal quite curious facts, and, extremely fortunately, an energetic repression has arisen to derail the schemes of many audacious shysters.

The House of Pernod and Sons was not to escape the common law; for some years a number of firms have emerged, proudly raising either the name of Pernod, or a name which resembles it as much as possible.

Did we not see a simple stable boy named Pernod making money by authorizing a manufacturer of absinthe in Drome to plaster his name on their labels!

Even more recently a distiller of Doubs, under pretext of a contract signed by a traveling salesman named Pernot, seized the name and flooded Paris and the province with his product which, evidently, would have gone over with great difficulty without this trickery.

The civil Court of the Seine, taking up the question, did not hold as legitimate this very ingenious procedure and prohibited its use. Its judgement will certainly be confirmed by the Appellate Court of Paris which will not be long in intervening.

Upon leaving the Pernod and Sons factory, visitors will all share the impression which we have proved to ourselves, it is that, in this splendid establishment all is subordinated to only one goal: To ensure the excellence of the product which the house offers for consumption. This goal is attained: nobody will dispute it, because the name Pernod has replaced, in common parlance, the generic name of absinthe to designate a product of superior quality.

 

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Translated by Artemis

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