The Consortium distributes a quarterly newsletter to share the latest information about the work we are doing to defend common food and wine terms. Keep up to speed on current threats and new successes by joining our email list.
As we round out the third quarter of 2022, CCFN is active across the global regulatory landscape, protecting the interests of common food name users through advocacy and partnerships as well as educational efforts. While this past quarter has delivered unique challenges, it has also presented opportunities for new government engagement and education.
We are especially proud of our proactive efforts with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. There, CCFN was able to inform and shape their new guidelines for trademark examiners involved in matters concerning products’ genericness. The resulting guidelines will limit the ability of entities to register and monopolize a generic term in the United States.
CCFN continues to seize every opportunity to raise awareness on our issues among decision makers. For example, CCFN briefed the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s agricultural attachés, a group of professionals stationed around the world to represent U.S. agricultural interests. CCFN designed and led an effort to educate these attachés about the EU’s efforts to monopolize common food names, ensuring they are aware of our concerns as they are posted in embassies around the world.
We deeply appreciate your ongoing commitment to support CCFN as we strive to protect the rights of common name users in markets around the world. Without you, our efforts would not be possible.
Thank you again.
CCFN Educates Attaches on Common Names
CCFN jumped at the opportunity to provide crucial education on common food names to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) attachés and other Washington, DC staff during the week of July 11th. Read More
CCFN Calls Out Brazil on Inconsistencies Regarding Prior Users
When the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply recently released a list of prior users able to use common food terms recognized as GIs under the Mercosur-European Union Free Trade Agreement, CCFN wasted no time raising serious concerns with the new list. Read More
Update on CCFN Trademark Project
CCFN continues to pursue the registration of multiple trademark logos in several key markets around the world. These trademarks will be used to proactively establish the rights of common name users to retain generic cheese names and are to be used by members and other interested companies once approved in a market. Read More
CCFN Shines Spotlight on Need to Retain Level Playing Field Online
The protection of GIs in internet domain names is an emerging issue where CCFN is working to preserve the rights of common name users. Currently, the EU is attempting to expand their monopolization campaign to online domains. Read More
Strengthening Common Names Support in the Americas
Latin America faces a growing set of common food name challenges, driven by the EU’s monopolization campaign executed through local trade agreements. Read More
EU Proposal on GIs and Sustainability (G/TBT/N/EU/895)
The European Commission published a proposal to revise geographical indications (GIs) legislation that provides producer groups with the opportunity to voluntarily include sustainability criteria going beyond the requirements for GI product specifications under EU law. Read More
Driving Policy Through INTA Involvement
CCFN continues in its work steering the International Trademark Association (INTA), the world’s leading voice on trademark topics. Read More
For Your Information
A Proposed Mexico-UK FTA
Negotiations for a new free trade agreement between Mexico and the UK were launched in May. While the process is in its earliest stages, Tthe FTA will have an intellectual property chapter which is likely to rely on the recent EU-Mexico negotiations as its starting point, CCFN is monitoring the evolving situation and stands ready to address any parts of the process that affect common name users, by seizing every opportunity to raise CCFN members’ concerns and ensure the right to use common names is preserved.
Products Passing Through EU Ports to Other Destinations Face New Risks
A recent modification to EU regulations (No 1151/2012) could create new problems for members’ products passing through EU ports as they are carried to their final destination outside the EU. The new EU regulations claim to align the EU’s definition of GIs with the WTO TRIPS Agreement (Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), but the changes provide for the enforcement of DOs and GIs on goods that enter the customs territory of the EU even if they are not being released for free circulation in the EU. Many goods pass through EU ports on their way to final destination countries which do not share the EU’s excessive and unjustified regulations restricting the use of common food names. CCFN remains attentive to help its members if they face any negative impacts from the implementation of these measures.
Other GI News from Around the World …
Cyprus Farmers Protest Restrictive Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) Requirements for Halloumi Cheese
In a prime example of how GI rules can invite unintended consequences, cheesemakers and the dairy cattle sector on the island have raised concerns that there is not enough goat and sheep milk on the island of Cyprus to meet the EU PDO requirement that Halloumi be made with 51% sheep or goat milk. Meanwhile, goat and sheep farmers want to see the requirement implemented to the letter and assert that cheesemakers are illegally padding out the cheese with milk powder. Farmers have rioted, setting fires near the presidential palace, resulting in arrested, according to a report by The Scottish Farmer. In the aftermath of the riot, talks were launched between the Ministry of Agriculture and farmers. Denying market realities in the pursuit of dogmatic purity has impacts on farmers and food producers operating in the real world.
NZ Cheesemakers, Winemakers to Suffer Market Losses Due to NZEU FTA
The Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand (DCANZ) the New Zealand Specialist Cheesemakers Association and some New Zealand winegrowers expressed extreme disappointment at the results of the NZEU FTA signed July 1. The agreement means local NZ cheesemakers will not be able to use the term feta, and it will prevent any new business development opportunities for parmesan and gruyere, per DCANZ. The common names port and sherry from the wine sector must also be phased out. These are included within the list of more than 2000 names that New Zealand agreed to recognize as GIs from the EU. The Cheesemakers association noted, “This creates uncertainty and makes it hard for New Zealand operators to invest in their businesses with confidence when the threat of a loss of equity in the intellectual property of traditional cheese names looms.” DCANZ representatives stated that the removal of common names, “Basically gives highly subsidised EU exporters another leg up in our market.” DCANZ also noted in a written statement that the agreement “Is a significant blow to the many New Zealand feta, gruyere and parmesan cheeses.” DCANZ noted that the agreement leaves the EU market 98.5% closed to key New Zealand dairy products.
The European Court of Justice Rules on Feta
In an effort to weed out lingering examples of European producers that have not fully bought in to the EU’s GI agenda, the EU has been taking Denmark to task over its feta exports to foreign markets where the term can lawfully be allowed. Recently, the ECJ ruled that Denmark violated EU law by not taking action against Danish producers exporting cheese under the names Feta, Danish Feta and Danish Feta Cheese. Denmark had argued the GI rules did not apply to exports as GI recognitions are territorial. The court found otherwise. Politico’s report on the ruling details the legal battle which was launched in 2019 supported by Greece and Cyprus. Denmark must immediately cease producing and exporting the cheese. The court also found that, by failing to halt the exports, the Danish Government had undermined the EU’s trade negotiations “to win lucrative protections for EU food and drinks.”