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French cake-maker maker sues firms that use the name of its famous brioche

President Emmanuel Macron’s plans to turn France into a “start-up nation” may be hampered by a cake-making firm that is suing companies which use the word “pitch” in their names.

French cake-maker maker sues firms that use the name of its famous brioche
Photo: Frédéric BISSON/Flickr

Pitching is an essential part of the game that a start-up has to play to get funding and grow its business, but any ambitious French firm that tries to use the word itself it in its name may get a sharp letter from Brioche Pasquier, the French-owned international bakery business.

The company has sent letters to at least six French start-ups ordering them to remove the the word “pitch” from their titles, media reports said.

It believes that the trademark for one of its best-known products – a brioche called Pitch – is being infringed.

This slightly sweet bread roll with a chocolate bar in the middle was invented by one of the Pasquier family in 1986, and the firm claimed the rights to the name – a common word in English but not one found in French.

Since the creation of this delicacy, however, the word pitch has come to be used regularly by French people, particularly in the thrusting world of start-ups.

But Brioche Pasquier is apparently not at all pleased with this development.

The organiser of an event called Pitch in the Plane, another event called Pitch Parties, and a training organisation called L’Ecole du Pitch (The Pitch School), are among the entities that have been warned by Brioche Pasquier lawyers to drop the word or face the consequences.

“This pressure is grotesque,” Gael Duval, of Pitch in the Plane, told Le Figaro.

”Training for start-ups doesn’t overshadow a brioche,” he said, echoing other entrepreneurs' surprise and perplexity at why the baker should be so concerned about firms in entirely different sectors using the word.

Brioche Pasquier did not immediately comment when contacted by The Local.

BUSINESS

France’s TotalEnergies posts record €19.5 billion net profit

France's TotalEnergies said Wednesday that high oil and gas prices bolstered its net profit to a record €19.5 billion ($20.5bn) in 2022 and announced higher dividend payments for shareholders.

France's TotalEnergies posts record €19.5 billion net profit

The 28 percent gain would have been much higher save for the nearly €13.9 billion in charges linked to its leaving the Russian market, with adjusted profits excluding such exceptional items rising to €33.6 billion.

Nevertheless, the surge in oil and natural gas prices following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and Western sanctions was a major boost for TotalEnergies, as it was for its rivals.

The massive profits have sparked renewed debate about taxing windfall earnings to help fund measures to protect consumers from rampant inflation, including soaring energy prices.

Chairman and CEO of Total Energies Patrick Pouyanne speaks during a hearing before the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National Assembly in Paris, on November 9, 2022. (Photo by Bertrand GUAY / AFP)

TotalEnergies’ strong presence in the liquefied natural gas market also helped as European nations sought supplies from further afield after Russia cut supplies by pipeline.

“The company took full advantage of its global LNG portfolio,” chief executive Patrick Pouyanne said in a statement.

TotalEnergies reported a 22 percent jump in LNG sales in the final three months of last year compared to the same period in 2021.

That helped drive an 11 percent gain in overall adjusted profits for the quarter to €7.06 billion, though Russia-related charges reduced that to €3.06 billion on a net basis.

The company increased final dividend payments for 2022, and said it could boost returns to shareholders even further this year.

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