Ski schools in France are a litigious bunch. Last year we reported that the independent ski instructors union, the SIMS, was suing the ESF for misrepresentation for using the French flag in their publicity. Now it is the ESI’s turn to be on the receiving end of a court judgment.
The Grenoble civil appeals court has ruled against the SIMS (Syndicat international des moniteurs de ski) and its president Philippe Camus in a trademark dispute. The trademarks “Écoles de ski internationale” and “ESI snowboard award école de ski internationale” were registered in 1994 by Michel Vachez an independent ski instructor based at l’Alpe-d’Huez. M. Vachez formed the first ski school independent of the Ecole de Ski Francais (ESF) in 1974.
The judgment has forbidden the SIMS from using this trademarks with a 500 € fine for each contravention. Michel Vachez explained that independent monitors were originally organized under the umbrella of the Fédération française des enseignants du ski. In 2001 the federation changed to a syndicat (union) which established franchises much like the ESF structure. Ski instructors had to pay a subscription. M. Vachez disagreed with this organization and asked the SIMS to stop using his trademarks.
The judgment will mean that other independent ski schools will have to change their brochures, update websites and even alter the medals they award. The SIMS has 1700 instructors in 84 ski schools in France.