The Comité Champagne’s legal department is constantly hard at work defending the Champagne name. Disputes come in all shapes and sizes. Some may be settled out of court, some go to trial. Some are landmark cases that set a legal precedent.
- 1960: Case against ‘Spanish Champagne’, in London
- 1972: Japan agrees not to use the name ‘Champagne’
- 1973: Bilateral reciprocal protection agreement between France and Spain
In 1960, the British High Court ruled against so-called ‘Spanish Champagne’, a sparkling wine distributed in Great Britain. This opened the way to legal action in defence of Champagne throughout countries under British jurisdiction. It also set a useful precedent for other countries including Spain. The campaign was subsequently expanded to address cases of indirect competition from non-alcoholic beverages, with successful prosecutions for fraud
- 1987: Case against Perrier mineral water in Germany
- 1994: Case against « Elderflower Champagne » in Great Britain
‘Perrier’ and ‘Elderflower’ cases
The first case involved a German publicity campaign for Perrier mineral water, which traded off Champagne’s reputation with the slogan: ‘The Champagne of mineral waters’. The second case involved a sparkling elderflower juice on sale in Great Britain in Champagne-shaped bottles, with the words ‘Elderflower Champagne’ on the label.
Misuse of reputation
- 1984: Case against ‘Champagne’ cigarettes, in France
- 1990: Case against ‘Schaumpagner Paris-Night’, in Switzerland
- 1993: Case against ‘Champagne de Yves Saint Laurent’ perfume, in France
- 2002: Case against ‘Arla: the yoghurt with the taste of Champagne’, in Sweden