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Chairman’s Column

Errico Auricchio

With Steady Work and Dialogue, A Way Forward

We were so pleased to recently share with you the successful agreement with the Consorzio Tutela Mozzarella di Bufala Campana (described in an article below), which recognizes and respects the Consorzio’s specific product of origin while also respecting the common name “mozzarella”. This agreement, forged after repeated meetings and productive dialogue between CCFN, the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) and the Consorzio and culminating in a signing ceremony in Italy last month, will prevent countless wasted hours and resources that might have been spent battling over the term “mozzarella” in various countries around the world.

CCFN, USDEC and the Consorzio also agreed to cooperate in sharing the goals of the agreement with U.S., Italian and European government officials, a point that helps smooth the way for better trade relations in a time when such progress is very welcome to producers everywhere.

Obviously, we hope we can replicate this success for other geographical indications (GIs) and common terms, and why not? There is a place for both GIs and products bearing generic names, which can be offered side by side in the marketplace to discerning consumers around the globe.

CCFN has recognized the specific nature of a legitimate GI, as it has with any good-faith, legally trademarked product. This agreement reconfirms that generic names can and must also continue to be recognized and respected.

We thank our Italian colleagues for constructing this agreement with us and look forward to other such equitable arrangements with GI holders.

Errico Auricchio
CCFN Chairman
President and Founder, BelGioioso Cheese

ConsorzioCCFN, U.S. Dairy Industry and Consorzio Tutela Mozzarella di Bufala Campana Sign Historic Agreement on GIs and Common Names, Providing Transparency for Consumers

The Consortium for Common Food Names (CCFN), the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) and the Consorzio Tutela Mozzarella di Bufala Campana have signed an historic agreement that CCFN hopes will pave the way for a new dialogue on the protection of products of origin in the United States and in global markets – including those bearing geographical indications (GIs), while respecting the rights of companies to produce and market products bearing generic names. Read More

wipo gi symposium

WIPO GI Symposium: CCFN Makes Common Names Part of the Dialogue

CCFN continues its steady engagement with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), most recently related to the structure and process surrounding the Geneva Act of the Lisbon Agreement (2015), which may have a significant impact on how geographical indications (GI) are vetted and registered in multiple nations. Read More

world mapSafeguarding Common Names in Key Markets Around the World

As anticipated, 2019 continues to be a busy year for CCFN in defense and education in the area of generic names. CCFN has filed 13 new opposition this year to preserve common names, most which are still pending. Here are some details on work conducted so far this year. Read More


champagneEU’s Claim to Sparkling “Prosecco” Falls Flat in Australia

Australian wine producers and enthusiasts are balking at the European Union’s (EU) attempt to include “Prosecco” in its list of more than 1,500 product names it wants exclusive rights to under its $100 billion bilateral trade agreement with Australia. Read More

And this…

How Low Can They Go? Grassfed Beef as a GI?

A recent tweet caught our eye from John Clarke, Director of International Affairs at the European Commission DG Agriculture, where Clarke relates his proposal to the Irish beef federation that they seek GI status for grassfed beef. “They didn’t believe it but now they do and it’s coming!” he cheers. One follower responds, “I imagine other countries around the world with predominantly grassfed herds might have a question or two 🙂”.

Bobby Koch, President and CEO, Wine Institute

Bobby KochAs head of Wine Institute, Bobby Koch is eager to share his pride in the California (USA) wine industry and its history.

“The first record of planting vines was in 1683 by Spanish missionaries. More than 400 years later, if California were a country, we would be the world’s fourth largest wine producer,” he said. Today California represents more than 85% of U.S. wine production and 95% of U.S. wine exports.

Wine Institute represents 1,000 wineries from diverse wine regions throughout the state, supporting legislative and regulatory advocacy throughout the United States and abroad. The organization is also active in international market development, media relations and sustainability programs.

“Many of our members are focused on sustainability – how to maintain their businesses to pass on to future generations. Some Wine Institute members have the fifth generation involved in winemaking,” Koch said.

Wine Institute members include small, medium and large wineries, most of which are family owned and operated. Koch notes that wineries have many challenges, from labor to environmental concerns to retaliatory tariffs. As they navigate these issues, they also need to ensure that the traditions and history of winemaking operations continue.

“Wine Institute supports CCFN because we believe that each country should be able to produce high quality products, under the names that have been associated with those products or style for decades,” Koch said. “The European ancestors of California families began making wine, taking with them their native names and cultures to share in their new home. There is a disconnect between this European migration abroad and current European wine regulations. The European Union (EU) believes that nouns and adjectives ‘traditionally associated with winemaking’ such as chateau and ruby can only be associated with wines produced in Europe or in countries that have a full wine agreement with the EU.”

While the 2006 EU-US Wine Agreement allows U.S. wineries to use the terms in the EU, any new trademark application using a “traditional term” is blocked. A total of 19 European and other countries can use the terms in the European marketplace. Wine Institute applied to use the terms in 2010, and has only received two responses to date, giving permission for California wineries to use “crusted” and “cream” when exporting to the EU.

“In the past, European officials have stated that European consumers would become confused with a Californian wine using ‘chateau’ on a label. But California has a long history and its own tradition of producing high quality wines. Since a wine label clearly states the country of origin, and even the state and sometimes American Viticultural Area, we question how a European consumer could become confused,” Koch said.

Koch notes that the EU is actively engaging in free trade agreement (FTA) discussions or has already signed FTAs with important U.S. export markets, such as China, Mexico, Japan and Mercosur countries. He says trade agreements should clearly indicate when a term is generic, such as a grape varietal name included in a compound European GI, such as “Dolcetto d’Alba” or “Brie de Meaux”.

“This could help prevent confusion by regulatory officials between a generic and a product with protected status,” he notes, adding that “CCFN and its members need to stay vigilant so that the interests of producers of products with common names will continue to have access to global markets.”

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