Champagne glasses

“Champagne is neither a colour, nor anything else than the name of wines from Champagne.” This is the tweet sent a few days ago by the Comité Champagne, a trade association that represents the interests of independent Champagne producers and Champagne Houses in France.

The tweet, which came with a link to a page showcasing significant victories of the Comité Champagne in defending the Champagne name across the globe, was a not-so-subtle way for the organization to send Apple a message that it’d better think twice if it decided to indeed call its rumored gold iPhone model Champagne…

Rumors first called it the “gold iPhone” but various sources were quick to point out that the color is actually closer to Champagne than gold per say. This news came as a relief for some. Indeed, gold sounds flashy and tacky, while Champagne sounds classy and somewhat luxurious, which fits nicely with Apple’s brand image.

It’s not about the color itself either. It’s also about the name of the color. Again, the name “gold” sounds gaudy and flashy, while the name “Champagne” definitely brings a refined and tasteful attitude to the color.

Of course, at this point, nothing but rumors and vague descriptions point to Apple naming the new color “Champagne,” and if the company decided to go that way, it will likely face legal hurdles with the Comité Champagne which will be enforcing its rights to the name.

Quoted in French newspaper L’Union, Charles Goemaere, Legal Director of the Protection of the Champagne appellation, seems to have been in touch with Apple about the matter, and the company replied that, referring to the usage of the name Champagne, “at this time, this is not verified information but just a rumor.” Note that Apple didn’t clearly deny the rumors.

Goemaere goes on explaining that Champagne is not an harmonized color because there are different shades of champagnes, as pictured above. According to Goemaere, “a company that would want to use the name Champagne wouldn’t do it so much to inform its customers about the color, but rather to captivate everything that evolves around the positive world of Champagne“.

Although he doesn’t clearly spell it out, Goemaere does make it sound like the Comité Champagne wouldn’t think twice about taking the matter to court, as it is clearly defined on the Comité’s website:

The reputation and importance of the Champagne appellation has long been a source of envy for other producers, spawning hundreds of imitations every year. Some brands are easy to copy, but Champagne is a unique product born of the shared heritage of Winegrowers and Champagne Houses whose livelihoods depend on protecting that heritage. They also have a duty to protect consumers against misleading claims made for any wines, beverages or products that trade off Champagne’s reputation as an appellation of guaranteed origin and quality. It is therefore the policy of the Comité Champagne and the INAO to prosecute anyone who misappropriates the reputation or identity of the Champagne appellation.

Of course Apple is clearly aware of that, and while the color Champagne would be a perfect fit for the rumored gold iPhone 5S, it looks like Apple’s creatives will have to come up with another name. Or maybe stick to the name gold? Or maybe go their own way and litigate later.

  • I’m sure they can come up with something. It isn’t that hard. Rose gold, tan, champagne, etc have been used for millenia on myriad products.

    • BenjaminDews

      champagne is exactly what this article is saying they cant use!

      • Obviously. My point is that the champagne council, or whatever they call themselves, don’t win every action they threaten. Especially those that have nothing to do with beverages.

  • Burge

    How about light gold iphone.. FFS describing a colour of a gold iphone as champagne would not in any way effect the sale of the drink.. All it is is saying is that it’s a light gold …

    • Matt Taylor

      It would probably heavily increase the sale of the drink!

  • Yujin

    if jobs was still alive he will buy the champagne region, close it down and build a huge apple campus on it just to show them who is boss. also Iphone champagne color sounds idiotic…gold is better or iphone golden

    • vlad

      I doubt he’d build anything in France, not with their work ethics! :))

  • Patrick

    why the hell would you sue over the word champagne, damn people are so greedy these day or are jealous because apple is earning more money than them, what a low life t#at

    • ConduciveMammal

      Yeah, it does seem pretty pathetic. If anything, they should take it as both a complement and as free advertising from the world’s most well known company

      • Guest

        Tell that to Apple regarding its “App Store” trademark and the term “startup” they’re trying to trademark…

    • Champagne is a protected mark. It’s not about greed. It’s about protecting a mark that is specific to a certain drink. Just like you can’t call anything you want “iPhone”, you can’t call anything you want “Champagne”

      • vlad

        Then why is there Odessa in Ukraine and 5 in USA or Moscow in Idaho?
        Champagne is a region in France and it’s not an intellectual property, its a chunk of fertile soil. Yeah, I can understand they are protect that name so other company can’t use it for sparkling wine, but it has nothing to do with using it as a color. I’d go with those Frenchies to court and let people decide!

      • BoardDWorld

        And how about Narang? Better stop using Orange to describe a colour too…

      • quitcherbichinn

        what about all the cars over the years that have had a champagne color? i don’t recall any car being sued because it had a gold color that was named champagne xx or xx champagne or w/e they would jazz it up with. it’s just absurd to sue over someone calling a gold color of an object champagne. it’s a cash grab and nothing more. a pretty lame cash grab at that.

      • Apple Guy

        If they are protecting the name, they would take them to court and get them to change the name. But because its about money I bet they will sue because they want some out of Apple’s big pot 🙂

  • Ted Forbes

    Champaign is the name to go with, not gold. Just buy the Champaign company, its heritage and all. This settles it. Apples got billions, it will take just a fraction of this to settle this.

    • John Sullivan

      Um, there is no company. It’s a committee representing all of the vineyards and wineries in that region of France, and to be completely honest, buying them all just to be able to use the word would be a completely bonehead move.

      • Agni

        If Apple did try to acquire, by any chance the Champagne moniker I wouldn’t be surprised if the EU would rain fire and brimstone on Apple.

  • John Sullivan

    This is more about maintaining integrity, and rightly so. If they originally had planned to go with the appelation, then honestly I’m surprised Apple’s designers didn’t realize this blunder if they’re supposed to be so smart. Probably the usual arrogance that they’ll be able to use it anyways and get away with it. This isn’t the first time either. They tried it with Apple Corp.

    Apple protects all of their trademarks vociferously like “iPhone” and “i” this and “i” that, so why should any other company be different? What’s good for the goose…

    • Matt Taylor

      You make a very good point! I agree…

  • Tanner Covington

    Wow. I hope who ever started calling the resource known as “gold” doesn’t come after Apple because gold is shiny and and exquisite (or flashy and gaudy in this article).

    Point is, European company/entity that is complaining, shut the hell up. Champagne can be used as an adjective to describe something’s color. Grow up.

    • John Sullivan

      Okay, how about this: should single malt whisky that in every way, shape and form is made like Scotch, but is not made in Scotland, be called Scotch? The word is afterall an adjective. For all intents and purposes, it should be accurate in what it describes, no? And as alluded to above, Champagne has more than one color. Nuts and bolts, calling it Champagne is simply incorrect, plain and simple. Calling a product something it’s not is not only unprofessional, it’s bad form.

    • Agni

      Why don’t we then use the term iPhone to refer to all multi touch phones; Android, WP and all.
      “Champagne” is simply a TM name,that is all.

  • gadgetgeek1

    If Apple uses the ‘sparkling wine iPhone’ as the new colorway name for the new iPhone5s,they wouldn’t hear the end of it.I’m laughing as Im typing this B-)Apple is better than wine coolers,their champange 🙂

  • vlad

    Typical French!

  • Jae. Just J.

    If the name Champagne is trademarked in regards of marketing a product, it’s trademarked. End of story. Like Apple trying to trademark “startup”. It’s peculiar that people can’t see that because it’s Apple. Don’t forget Apple eventually had to buy “iPhone” from CIsco as Apple tried to coerce the name from them.

    • BoardDWorld

      I, and most others I would like to believe, think trademarking “startup” is ludicrous. I hope it gets thrown out the door. Even if it was approved they would have a hard time enforcing it in the future.

  • QuarterSwede

    This story is nonsense. Nissan has had “champagne” named colored cars for a decade.

  • Todd

    ‘Per SAY’?!

  • n0ahcruz3

    Really? Just call it iphone piss. Smh

  • Burge

    Champagne trademark is to stop others using that name for a DRINK it is not for a phone colour..go a head apple call it that your not selling a piss coloured drink

  • Simonas Narbutas

    :)))) “sparkling wine iPhone” instead of “champagne iPhone” is like “Having sex” instead of “Making love”… subtle elegant delicate feeling – gone..

  • Sagar Soni

    They should call it iPhone 5s Slate/White/ChampegishSueMeNowBitch

  • ExRoot

    A taste of their (Apple’s) own medicine!

  • Kristen Vacketta

    Whaddaya say we skip the names, and get straight to the iPhone 5S “Bubbly”.

  • Jayne

    I’m sorry but the only person who can claim rights to ‘Champagne’ surely is the person who came up with the name of the part of the country in the first place.
    Was it used for something even before then?
    It is like someone claiming the name ‘London’ as their own for a drink just because they make it in ‘London’.

  • Jayne

    I just found out that the the first ppl to plant vineyards in France were the Romans!
    There wouldn’t even be any wine or ‘Champagne’ there if it hadn’t been for them!

  • Jayne

    The oldest recorded ‘sparkling wine’ was in ‘Carcassonne’, so it seems that the ‘Champagne’ manufacturers have copied the ‘sparkling wine’ idea in the first place, so can they complain that apple are copying the ‘Champagne’ word?

  • Jayne

    Just call the iphone colour ‘Champers’ – ‘Apple’ dudes. I don’t think anyone cant get you on that…yet…or maybe they can, ’cause the worlds gone crazy.
    Soon, there will be no words left to even speak, cause someone will sue us for using their ‘trademark’ word!

  • Jayne

    ‘Champagne’ is from an old ‘Latin’ word which means level open country so has Italian roots…at least…