Champomy – L’Orginal (I am Original):
Looking for a non-alcoholic sparkling fruit juice to offer as an apéro we found Champomy in our local Intermarché. As the brand name suggests this is sparkling apple juice, whose bottle is closed with a muselet and sparkling wine cork.
I was intrigued by the Champomy name. Surely the CIVC’s legal hounds wouldn’t let this pass. A quick Google search showed that the CIVC and the INAO had indeed taken Pernod Ricard as well as Orangina Schweppes and Schweppes international over Champomy.
The Champony brand name was first registered in France in 1988 with several variations on the name registered soon after. In January 1991 there was agreement between Pernod Ricard and the CIVC that in promoting Champomy there would be no mention of Champagne and in return the CIVC would not object to the brand name.
Later the CIVC and the INAO, concluding that Pernod Ricard had not kept their side of the agreement and that Champony was being associated with Champagne, bought an legal action to have the brand names annulled.
However, at a hearing before the Cour de Cassation on 7th July 2009, the demands of the CIVC and INAO were rejected on the grounds that in the intervening years Pernod Ricard – ‘a fait émerger un univers propre autour de son produit’. Champony now had its own established reputation as a celebratory drink for kids that that meant that it wouldn’t be confused with Champagne.
This was an interesting judgment that indicates that providing a brand name was well established, even though might appear to lead to potential confusion with Champagne, a legal action by the CIVC would be likely to fail.
It is also a reminder that the CIVC does not appear to have a great deal of success in its legal jousts with kids’ drinks. It recently failed to convince the Spanish Supreme Court to ban Champín – ‘Bebida para fiestas infantiles’.
For the record Champomy is a pleasant, non-alcoholic cider-like, fizzy drink but is quite sweet – demi-sec.