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Australian court mulls decision in 'Champagne Jayne' case

Published:  17 April, 2015

An Australian judge is deliberating the outcome of a legal battle between a wine educator and the Comité Interprofessional de Vin de Champagne (CIVC) in a dispute over the Champagne trademark.

Jayne Powell, who is known as 'Champagne Jayne', is fighting the legal battle against the CIVC in the Australian Federal Court, who argue that the use of the word Champagne in her trading name is a breach of the trademark when she talks about other sparkling wine in addition to Champagne. 

Powell has made her name in Australia as an educator, writer and speaker but her supporters say she risks serious financial hardship and may be driven out of business if she loses the case. In February, they launched an fundraising appeal to help her. 

The case, which has been ongoing for two years, was heard in a court in Australia on Monday, but the final decision, may take several months.

Graeme Lofts, one of Powell's supporters who was writing for wine blog Jim's Loire, reported that Justice Beach admitted in court that he could see nothing wrong with the use of the name Champagne Jayne, and believed the question to be answered was whether or not Powell had mislead, deceived or confused her audiences at events, on television or online.

"A lot of the argument from both sides centred on who the audience was and what proportion already understood that sparkling wine could only be called Champagne if it comes from the Champagne appellation of France," Lofts wrote.

Her team said they feeling "quite optimistic" about the case, adding that her new legal team had done a "great job" arguing her case.

In 2012 was awarded Champagne Dame status the by the L'Ordre des Coteaux de Champagne, and was also named Harpers' Champagne Educator of the year.