Graeme Lofts reports from the Federal Court in Melbourne:
The battle continues . . . Day 2
The second day of the hearing before Hon Justice Jonathan Beach began today with a statement by Ms Powell’s lawyer indicating that she has already taken action to avoid creating the impression that she is endorsed by that CIVC by removing the terms ‘ambassador’ and ‘global ambassador’ from her website, social media and other promotional material. Ms Powell has undertaken not to present herself as an ambassador of the Champagne brand and to clarify her independence from any French Government organisation. Ms Powell made it clear that this is not an admission that she has done anything deliberately to mislead consumers.
Ms Powell then took the witness stand and in response to questions from her own lawyer stated that she always distinguished between Champagne and other sparkling wines to ensure that she did not cause confusion, and that she had never been asked by any of the Champagne producers appearing in videos on her website or social media pages to remove the videos.
A number of videos were shown and transcripts of tweets and other social media interactions were presented by the CIVC’s lawyer during the cross examination of Ms Powell. These exhibits were examples of what the CIVC considered to be misleading behaviour, deceptive conduct or a tarnishing of the Champagne brand. Ms Powell explained that the occasional use of sparkling wines other than Champagne was the exception rather than the rule, but was sometimes part of the process of educating consumers about Champagne and distinguishing it from other sparkling wines. She pointed out that Champagnes represented only 10% of sparkling wines produced worldwide and that her occasional use of other sparkling wines gave her Champagne education context. She denied that she had done anything to tarnish the Champagne brand.
The report on Day One is here.
My grateful thanks to Graeme for his fine report.