As we close out a very successful 2022, we wanted to take a moment to celebrate the ten-year anniversary of CCFN and look ahead to what CCFN will need as we enter the second decade of our work.
CCFN was founded in 2012 in response to emerging and increasing threats from overseas producers who sought to constrain our ability to market and sell our products using common names – like parmesan and bologna – that had long been a part of the public domain. Across continents and industries, we came together to stop the monopolization of generic names and fight for common sense.
The decade since then has not been easy. The European Union (EU) has continued to aggressively confiscate common names through the misuse and abuse of geographical indications and intellectual property laws. Frequently, they have then pressured other countries to adopt these misguided policies as a condition of a trade deal with Europe.
Exacerbating the problem has been the sizable gap between the U.S. government’s actions to tackle this issue versus the strong-arm tactics employed by the European Commission to advance its overreaching GI policies. The U.S. Trade Representative’s office has accurately recognized the threat that the EU’s GI campaign poses to American producers and exporters. But with the exception of a commitment secured with Mexico under USMCA, USTR hasn’t succeeded in securing commitments from countries to establish concrete protections for common names.
Looking ahead to 2023 and beyond, we know that the EU is not going to stop. Our best chances are to stand up and make it as hard as possible for the EU to claim for their own the names customers have known and used for generations as generic. We will continue to stay vigilant and fight for America’s dairy, meat, wine, and other producers who use common names. Succeeding in the coming decade will require far more help from the U.S. government than we have gotten in the past. We are confident that with the strong support and engagement from our members, though, we can continue to make it as difficult as possible for the EU to confiscate your right to use common terms.
Thank you for your continued support for CCFN. We are proud to represent you and your interests around the world.
President and Founder, BelGioioso Cheese