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Champagne lawyers accuse critic ‘Champagne Jayne’ of trademark infringement

The wine critic and educator known as Champagne Jayne is due in court later this month after France’s Champagne trade body accused her of misleading the public.

Jayne Powell (left) during her appearance as a Champagne expert on UK ITV’s This Morning in 2013. Image credit: ITV

Rachel Jayne Powell is due to stand trial in Melbourne Federal Court, Australia, on 15 December, according to the court’s schedule. The case is expected to last up to four days.

The Comite Champagne has accused her of misleading and deceptive conduct by using the Champagne Jayne name, in particular because she also promotes and writes about other sparkling wines. Its first complaint was filed in December 2013.

It is a case that could have ramifications for other wine critics.

Under European Union rules that have been extended to Australia, Champagne can only be produced from certified vineyards and by specific methods in the eponymous region of northern France.

In a court filing against Powell, the Comite Champagne’s lawyers said the critic’s promotion of non-Champagne wines ‘damages the reputation and goodwill that the name Champagne has for some members of the public’, according to a report the Herald Sun newspaper.

Powell has been using ‘Champagne Jayne’ as a professional name since 2003. Her book, Great, Grand and Famous Champagnes: Behind the Bubbles, won a 2011 Gourmand book award.

She has also been named a Dame Chevalier de L’Ordre des Coteaux de Champagne by the Champagne industry.

In July 2012, she trademarked Champagne Jayne in Australia under the category for entertainers, public speakers and authors.

The Comite Champagne objected to the trademark. It has since demanded that Powell delete herTwitter handle, which has 21,000 followers, and Facebook account, Decanter.com understands from a source familiar with the situation.

Powell declined to comment, on the advice of her legal team. The Comite Champagne also declined to comment on an ongoing case.

(Editing by Chris Mercer)

Written by Jim Budd

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