CCFN Engages Closely with China on GIs

March 12th, 2018

CCFN Executive Director Jaime Castaneda traveled to China in January with the President and CEO of the U.S. Dairy Export Council to meet with Chinese Ministry of Commerce officials on GI issues. Castaneda commended China on its efforts to balance GI protections with the preservation of common food terms, and highlighted specific areas of concern.

“In particular, we told Chinese officials that we strongly supported China’s decision to provide the opportunity for third parties to oppose the GIs that were published for comment last year under the framework of a bilateral GI agreement with the European Union,” Castaneda said. “In addition, we expressed appreciation for China’s consistent commitment to ensure that generic terms are not eligible for protection as GIs.”

CCFN flagged to Chinese officials its concern with pending trademark issues in China related to the generic cheese terms “parmesan”, “mozzarella”, “edamer”, “emmentaler”, “gouda” and “asiago”.

In a positive development, in response to a CCFN submission, the Chinese trademark office has ruled to uphold the generic status of “munster” by rejecting a trademark application for the name “Munsterland”, noting as grounds for rejection that “munster” is a generic term for a type of cheese. A German firm had applied for this trademark in May 2015; CCFN filed its opposition to the application in 2016 to oppose restriction of the generic term munster.