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Legal battle looms over Apple’s ‘Champagne’ iPhone

A legal battle is looming between Apple and the Champagne authorities amid reports suggesting that the electronics giant is poised to launch a 'Champagne'-coloured version of the iPhone.

Apple is due to unveil the latest versions of the hand-held devices – the iPhone 5S and the iPhone 5C – at a highly anticipated launch presentation next Wednesday.

And widespread online leaks and videos suggest that the new 5S phone will come in two new colour variations – a grey shade called ‘graphite’ and a pale golden colour dubbed ‘Champagne’.

However, the move is likely to fall foul of Champagne’s generic body, the Comité Interprofessionel du Vin de Champagne (CIVC), which is in charge of protecting the Champagne name around the world.

In the past, the CIVC’s legal team has successfully secured bans on the sale of a range of products seeking to use ‘Champagne’ in their name, packaging or marketing, including bubble bath, underwear and shoes.

A CIVC spokesperson told Decanter.com that so far the Apple reports were only ‘rumours’, and that the authority was awaiting more information before deciding what action, if any, to take.

But he added: ‘The appellation Champagne is protected in France, EU and most of the countries of the world, where Champagne can therefore only designate wines from the Champagne region in France.’

However, the name Champagne only enjoys limited protection in the US, where many domestically produced sparkling wines can still use the word ‘Champagne’ on their labels.

Written by Richard Woodard

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