The French trade body controlling Champagne says it will fight any attempt by US tech giant Apple to market the color of its new iPhone 5S using the appellation name.
Charles Goemaere, legal director of The Comité Interprofessionel du Vin de Champagne (CIVC) – who is responsible for protecting the appellation – told French newspaper L’Union (which covers the Champagne region) that the trade body had seen rumors on social networks for several weeks.
New iPhone out tomorrow
Although Apple has declined to comment thus far on rumors – CEO Tim Cook will launch the firm’s latest smartphone, the iPhone 5S tomorrow – Goemaere said the CIVC had been surprised to hear the rumor and said the trade body would not accept use of ‘Champagne’ in Apple’s sales literature.
“Contrary to Bordeaux, which has become a generic color. Champagne does not have a common color – there is diversity,” he told the paper.
“We are not able to consider that a ‘Champagne’ color exists. A company would use the Champagne name like this, not to inform its customers of a color but to attract the benefits connected with the Champagne universe,” Goemaere added.
Defending the Champagne trademark is one of the CIVC’s top priorities, and Goemaere said the body watches brands and website domain names to monitor use of the name, and is fed information via an informal network of Champagne offices abroad, and whistle-blowing consumers who travel.
CIVC polices use of name
Goemaere said that former battles against use of the word ‘Champagne’ include one over against a toilet paper brand professing to have that color, and others against firms selling toothpaste, undergarments, shoes and mineral water for dogs
“The more Champagne is consumed and known, the stronger the temptation to use its name,” Goemaere said.
At the end of July, the CIVC said that Champagne shipments in H1 2013 of 108m were slightly lower than 2012, with economic conditions in France and Europe hitting shipments.
Neither Apple nor the CIVC were available for comment at the time of publication.