These domains could threaten France"s desire to "preserve the cultural diversity" built on Bordeaux, Burgundy and Champagne.
TIME Tech

This Is Why France Is Fighting a .Wine Domain Tooth and Nail

France Opposes Wine Domain
The Ay commune in France's Champagne region, where grapes are harvested to make Moet et Chandon. Jean-Pierre Degas / hemis.fr—Getty Images/Hemis.fr RM

Champagne campaign? Not so fast

If the name “champagne” is legally reserved for sparkling wine from France’s Champagne region, then shouldn’t the domains .wine and .vin also be restricted?

So goes French minister Axelle Lemaire’s argument to geographically protect the .wine and .vin generic top-level domains (known as gTLDs, such as .edu, .com, .gov) proposed by the International Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), according to BBC. During an ICANN meeting on Monday, Lemaire insisted that assigning these gTLDs would threaten France’s desire to “preserve the cultural diversity” built on Bordeaux, Burgundy and Champagne—wines endemic to various French regions.

Several European countries have mounted resistance against the .wine and .vin domains since Project dotVinum made a public effort to register .wine in 2010. When ICANN launched the New gTLD Program in 2012, a handful of private firms applied for .wine gTLDs, drawing the attention of Portugal, Spain, Brussels, Luxembourg, Italy and the U.S., among other countries concerned about safeguarding the quality, reputation and brands of their wines.

In 2013, the European Federation of Origin Wines issued a statement to ICANN arguing that the new gTLDs infringe on intellectual property rights. A year later, ICANN issued a 60 day deadline to resolve the debate by June 3, 2014, but its delegates failed to reach an agreement. As a result, ICANN has “continued processing of the .VIN and .WINE applications,” according to a statement.

The ICANN’s 50th session will be held in London from June 22 to June 26.

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