Awards and citations:

1997: Le Prix du Champagne Lanson Noble Cuvée Award for investigations into Champagne for the Millennium investment scams

2001: Le Prix Champagne Lanson Ivory Award for

2011: Vindic d'Or MMXI – 'Meilleur blog anti-1855'

2011: Robert M. Parker, Jnr: ‘This blogger...’:

2012: Born Digital Wine Awards: No Pay No Jay – best investigative wine story

2012: International Wine Challenge – Personality of the Year Award

Monday, 17 August 2015

Why Ron Walsham and Tim Atkin and not Jayne Powell (aka ChampagneJayne)?

Ron Walsham: $3000 raised   
(theoretical legal threat)

Jayne Powell: $1400 ($AU1895) raised
(very substantial legal costs)

It was good to see how much support Ron Walsham (The HoseMaster of Wine) and Tim Atkin MW received from the wine community when Riedel's lawyers sent them legal letters following the publication of Ron's satirical piece on Tim Atkin's site.

This included tweets, posts on Facebook, blog posts and news items on magazine websites. When the legal threat to Walsham appeared to be still in place and letter to Riedel was organised and as Jancis Robinson mentioned: 'I spent quite a bit of the last 24 hours helping them garner a hugely impressive list of signatories from around the world to the still-being-discussed letter.'  

All this is in very stark contrast to the pathetic level of support that Jayne Powell (aka ChampagneJayne) has received in response to the appalling, bullying legal action against her by the CIVC (Le Comité Interprofessionnel du vin de Champagne) in the name of Champagne producers and merchants. Even though Jayne Powell has been a very enthusiastic supporter of Champagne, the CIVC brought a federal case against her alleging that by using the name Champagne Jayne, she tarnished the name of Champagne and deceived consumers as she occasionally mentioned other sparkling wines than Champagne. 

Bravely deciding to stand up to the Champagne bullies has been personally ruinous for Jayne Powell – she has had to sell her house and is now effectively bankrupted by her legal bills. 

Jayne is now in limbo awaiting Justice Jonathon Beach to produce his judgment. Justice Beach is certainly taking his time as the final hearing in this case at the Federal Court in Melbourne was on 13th April 2015 – over four months ago. As far as the CIVC is concerned I assume it doesn't matter how long Justice Beach takes but for Jayne her professional life is on hold – more stress and agony as well as being banned from talking to the media while Beach cogitates.  Is this really 'Justice'?

Ron Walsham and Jayne Powell both have fund raising pages for their defence costs. In just seven days Walsham raised $3000 is response to a letter threatening action. In shaming contrast ony $1400 (
$AU1895) has been raised towards Jayne's actual legal costs. Jayne's fund raising page remains open here, so not too late to show your support.

Why so little support for Jayne Powell?  

Because she is a woman?

Because she trademarked ChampagneJayne in Australia? 
Some have said that Jayne Powell was asking for trouble when she successfully trademarked her business name – Champagne Jayne? Perhaps but there was no need for the CIVC to initiate a Federal case as they have already registered their opposition to her trademark and this will be heard separately. 

Because it is in Australia?
'Earlier this year, the Champagne trade group sued the Australian wine writer Champagne Jayne because the trade group said she wasn’t entitled to use the word Champagne. The wine business, and especially my writing colleagues, could (couldn't?) have cared less. Maybe it was because it was in Australia. Maybe it was because they didn’t understand the danger. Or maybe they just didn’t care, because they were too busy doing business with the wine business.'

Jayne did get some support from writers including:


Because few want to upset the Champenoise and forgo invitations to  Champagne and Champagne events?  




Hervé Lalau said...

I can't see why the fact that she is a woman has an influence on anyone's reaction to her cause. Not mine, anyway.
The fact is that I do not find Walsham's parody very good, but equally I don't think anyone should be entitled to associate its name to a wine region and make it a trademark. See, I may be a little conservative in these matters, but at least I am not a male chauvinist.

Do Bianchi said...

Italian blogger Maurizio Gily raised nearly Euro 16k for his defense fund:

Jim Budd said...

Thanks for your messages. Hervé I have no objection to the CIVC objecting to the trademark and, indeed, they have registered an objection. The court case is, however, something else.

There are plenty of other people who use Champagne in their business names, twitter handles etc. Why did the CIVC single out Jayne Powell a long time supporter of Champagne?

Ryan Opaz said...

Seriously though, Jayne trademarked a trademark. She would never have had an issue if she had not trademarked the name. Champange was happy with her, it appeared. And supported her.

But when you own a trademark you have to defend it. Or you lose it. I don't see how these two are equal. One is slander. The other is an ownership issue in many ways.

Jim Budd said...

Seriously Ryan you are muddling two cases here.

The CIVC has objected to Jayne Powell trademarking Champagne Jayne and this objection is in the pipeline to be heard. The Federal Court is an additional case that the CIVC brought claiming that Jayne had deceived consumers and tarnished the image of Champagne by occasionally mentioning other sparkling wines. I have no issue with the CIVC seeking to have the trademark annulled, although there are other examples of Champagne included in Australian trademarks.

The Federal Court case is the CIVC seeking to grind Jayne into the ground.

ryan said...

I don't see how they are not linked. I really wanted to support Jayne when I first heard about this and started to do a bit of headline sharing anger on my feeds, until I read the details. The idea that she has "Champagne" in her name and then talks about other sparklers, to most consumers would be confusing. Champagne is a brand that fiercely protected and they do need to cover all aspects of this.

I do agree that Champagne could do something more upstanding instead of destroying an advocate, agree that if she gives up the trademark they would drop their charges, but from what I heard(correct me if I'm wrong) she didn't want to give up the name.

Jim Budd said...

Ryan. Thanks. Of course there are links but the CIVC has opposed the Champagne Jayne trademark in Australia and they have the opportunity to have this trademark overturned.

Providing Jayne makes it clear what is Champagne and what are other sparkling wines I can't see conumers being confused. Nor can I see how an ardent supporter of Champagne has tarnished its image. Anyway we will have a pointer once Justice Beach finally comes to a decision. Are consumers equally confused by @Chanpagneguru tweeting about English sparkling wines to mention just one of many who use Champagne in their name.

Not just give up her trademark but to selete all her posts – tweets, Facebook, blog etc. To start again afresh.

Jim Budd said...

My last sentence should have read:

'Not just give up her trademark but to delete all her posts – tweets, Facebook, blog etc. To start again afresh.'