- 4rd Quarter 2019 CCFN ALERT
- 3rd Quarter 2019 CCFN ALERT
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- 4rd Quarter 2018 CCFN ALERT
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Our Good Work Continues in the Face of New Challenges
The COVID-19 virus has brought new challenges to the global food and agricultural market. One challenge that is not new: efforts to restrict your right to use common food names. In fact, the European Commission recently released a report calling their illegitimate geographical indications (GI) scheme a “European treasure” and citing its value at nearly €75 billion – no wonder Europe will go to such lengths to destroy fair competition!
We have remained steadfast in our efforts to defend common food name products. CCFN recently helped secure the publication of a new U.S. Patent and Trademark Office examination guide that will help ensure that generic terms are given adequate consideration and protection. Trademark applications were recently filed for “gorgonzola” in the United Arab Emirates and “asiago” in Malaysia and CCFN has already committed to opposing both attempts to infringe on common name rights. This is in addition to all of the other important work that continues on multiple fronts, as outlined in this quarter’s newsletter.
But of course, none of this would be possible without your continued support, even during this time of great adversity. Thank you for your ongoing efforts alongside CCFN to ensure that farmers, manufacturers, exporters and consumers around the world can continue to produce, make, sell and find comfort in the foods we all love and enjoy.
CCFN Helps Secure Welcome Improvements to How USPTO Reviews GI-Related Applications
Last month, the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) issued new guidance on how the USPTO examiners should consider generic terms as it reviews new trademark applications. The improvements incorporated into USPTO’s new examination guidance significantly clarify and improve review procedures for certain trademarks related to generic cheese or meat names, creating a more consistent process that will protect the interests of U.S. manufacturers, farmers and consumers.
CCFN joined with the U.S. Dairy Export Council, National Milk Producers Federation, North American Meat Institute, National Association of State Departments of Agriculture and American Farm Bureau Federation to issue a joint statement touting this development that will bolster protections for common food names.
CCFN Provides GI Framework for U.S.-UK Trade Negotiations
a free trade agreement (FTA). A U.S.-UK FTA could present a new path forward for the misbalanced trade relationship between the U.S. and the UK, one of the world’s top cheese importers. Ensuring that the UK uses its exit from the EU as an opportunity to move beyond the EU’s complex and unfair trade policies on geographical indications (GIs) is a critical element to that result, however.
CCFN has been actively monitoring all trade developments across the Atlantic and has worked with U.S. dairy industry partners to repeatedly take this message to UK negotiators directly. CCFN has developed a set of detailed policy recommendations outlining how to best tackle the issue of GIs and common food names and has provided that language to U.S. trade negotiators to help guide negotiations towards a successful deal.
CCFN Champions Major Wins in Australia
The hard work and dedication of CCFN secured two major wins in Australia for makers of asiago and gorgonzola cheeses, as the Australian registrar of trademarks ruled against Italian attempts to trademark these common cheese names. CCFN had invested significant effort since 2018 to rebut claims from the Consorzio per la Tutela del Formaggio Asiago and the Consorzio per la Tutela del Formaggio Gorgonzola that sought to monopolize use of these two widely used terms. This is an extremely positive development after years of staunch advocacy by CCFN on behalf of users of the common names asiago and gorgonzola.
UnCommon Hero: Australia’s Intellectual Property Office
Too many other countries have failed to take a similarly principled path as Australia, instead bowing to pressure from the EU to monopolize common names and unduly limit trade. So, for its heroic efforts to defend common names, Australia’s Intellectual Property Office is CCFN’s featured UnCommon Hero this quarter.
U.S. Government Denounces EU Abuse of GI Protections in Special 301 Report
The Special 301 Report adds to the growing U.S. attention surrounding this critical issue and the ramifications of weaponizing GI protections as trade barriers. CCFN will continue to build upon the extensive groundwork already completed with USTR to secure even stronger protections for common names in future trade negotiations.
CCFN Files Comments with USTR on Kenya
CCFN is urging the U.S. government to take full advantage of the opportunity presented by upcoming trade negotiations with Kenya to build upon the advances made in USMCA, contain the EU’s aggressive misuse of geographical indications (GIs) to erect market access barriers and establish a precedent in sub-Saharan African regarding safeguards for the free use of common foods names.
China Working to Fulfill Phase One Commitments with CCFN Guidance
In its Phase One deal with the U.S., China made critical commitments to lay out indicators of generic status and mandate greater clarity regarding the scope of protection for multi-term geographical indications (GIs). CCFN recently submitted comments to the Chinese government to help ensure it fulfills these commitments by advising on the development of its Guide on Determining Generic Names in the Protection of Geographical Indications. Read more
On the Record at WIPO General Assembly
CCFN Expands Efforts on Capitol Hill
Other GI News From Around the World…
It’s the Pits: Kalamata Olive Growers Seek to Restrict PDO
According to trade publication Olive Oil Times, Greek Deputy Minister of Rural Development and Food, Fotini Arampatzi, recently “stirred up controversy…when she suggested restricting the use of the Kalamata Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) solely for olives grown in the region of Messenia, on the southwestern tip of the Peloponnese peninsula.” A 2018 Greek law expanded the PDO designation to olives grown anywhere in Greece and helped expand Greek table olive exports to more than $223 million. Messenia olive growers are appealing this law, even though a Greek table olive association points to the fact that 97 percent of the Kalamata olives grown in Greece are produced outside of the Messenia region. The Greek supreme court is expected to hear the case this Spring. The growing “creep” of a GI region from a highly specialized one to an entire country with varied terroir certainly raises questions about the unique basis of the GI itself.
- 4rd Quarter 2017 CCFN ALERT
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- 4th Quarter 2016 CCFN ALERT Q4 2016
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