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Watchdog warns Apple over ‘Champagne’ iPhone
"That's Champagne, not gold." A French watchdog has warned Apple not to release the new iPhone 5S and 5C in a 'Champagne' colour. Photo: TLD Today/Youtube

Watchdog warns Apple over ‘Champagne’ iPhone

Published: 30 Aug 2013 12:32 GMT+02:00
Updated: 30 Aug 2013 12:32 GMT+02:00

Champagne producers are set to go to war with Apple if they attempt to release their new iPhone 5S in a ‘Champagne’ colour, it emerged this week. It wouldn't be the first time the French watchdog has taken a company to task for co-opting the iconic label.

Tech giants Apple may be preparing themselves for the usual flurry of online critiques when they launch the long-awaited iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C at a conference on September 10th.

They probably won’t have counted, however, on a group of French wine-makers taking them on for potentially releasing a ‘Champagne-coloured’ version of the smartphone.

The CIVC (Interprofessional Committee for Champagne Wine) has made clear its intention to challenge Apple if it dares to invoke the iconic French brand.

“Champagne doesn’t have one single colour,” Charles Goamaere, CIVC’s legal director told local daily L’Union l’Ardennais this week.

“So we can’t say that a ‘champagne’ colour exists. Therefore, any company wanting to use the name ‘Champagne’ would be doing so [only] to attract all the benefits that surround [the label.]”

Apple should consider themselves forewarned.  The CIVC, which is responsible for protecting the use of the term ‘Champagne,’ has a winning record in preventing a variety of companies and products from attempting to co-opt the label, as Goamaere warned on Tuesday.

“In almost all cases, we’ve been vindicated. In order to stay informed about abuses, we use some classic tools like brand and domain name monitoring, as well as internet alerts,” he told L’Union.

“We also have an informal network of foreign offices, people from the Champagne region [in north-eastern France] and consumers who, on  their travels, let us know about about any use of the word ‘Champagne’ that shocks them,” he added.

In the past, the CIVC has successfully barred the use of ‘Champagne’ in toothpastes, mineral water for pets, toilet paper, underwear and shoes.

US-based consumer review site Techfast Lunch and Dinner on Thursday appeared to support online rumours about the new product's colour schemes, with the following video.

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Dan MacGuill (dan.macguill@thelocal.com)

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