Champagne & Apple – Time to Get Litigious

“Champagne, the most esteemed of France’s sparkling wines, has not been known to take the “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery” outlook when it comes to its brand: The last contretemps on this front occurred earlier this very year, when the White House released an Inauguration menu accidentally describing as Champagne a wine bottle from some dingy low-class backwater called “California.” Now the Champenois have directed their considerable reserve of ire at the new Apple iPhone 5S, a product not from France but from China. Apple is set to debut the new phone soon, but photos, videos and rumor already leaked that it will come in a new color option, purported to be called “Champagne.” English-language French news source The Local cited comments of disapproval made by Charles Goamaere of the Comité Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne (CIVC) to L’Union l’Ardennais. “Champagne doesn’t have one single color,” he said (yet another way Apple’s copycatting them!). “So we can’t say that a ‘Champagne’ color exists. Therefore, any company wanting to use the name ‘Champagne’ would be doing so [only] to attract all the benefits that surround [the label].” Goameare made clear that the CIVC would get litigious if necessary. “In almost all cases, we’ve been vindicated,” including against non-wine companies like Perrier and Yves St. Laurent. As The Local noted, “In the past, the CIVC has successfully barred the use of ‘Champagne’ in toothpastes, mineral water for pets, toilet paper, underwear and shoes,” all of which one might easily confuse or naturally associate with the famous luxury sparkling wine. You’ll just have to wait until the official iPhone release to find out how the cards fall, perhaps while sipping an ice-cold Miller High Life which, thanks to a loophole in U.S.-E.U. trade law, still remains the Champagne of Beers.”


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