GIs: US Industry Claims Harm From Misappropriation Of Common Food Names 28/10/2016 by Alexandra Nightingale for Intellectual Property Watch Leave a Comment Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Representatives from US dairy trade associations joined the cross-industry Consortium for Common Food Names (CCFN) recently to present an economic analysis on the impact of European Union policies regarding geographical indications on the United States and its dairy industry. feta cheese The CCFN is an alliance working with leaders in agriculture, trade and intellectual property rights to foster the adoption of high standards and model geographical indication (GI) guidelines throughout the world, according to its website. CCFN held a webinar on 11 October to discuss its report, “Assessing the Potential Impact of Geographical Indications for Common Cheeses on the U.S. Dairy Sector” and the implications of EU GI policies on the United States. During the webinar, CCFN Executive Director Jaime Castaneda outlined that geographical indications “are intended to recognize the unique nature of foods identified with a specific geographic area.” Castaneda emphasised that the CCFN is not opposed to this principle. Washington state apples and Idaho potatoes are examples of GIs in the United States. “The problem is not with a well-defined GI. The problem is with attempting to extend GI protection to many food names that have on one hand little to no geographic identity or on the other hand have become generic names in some cases for centuries,” said Castaneda. The analysis, commissioned by the CCFN, was conducted by Informa Economics IEG, which specialises in agricultural and product market research and analysis. It evaluates the impact on the US dairy sector, consumers and economy by the EU’s policy on GIs and appropriation of common cheese names. The scenario that would require US cheese makers to stop marketing cheeses under protected names like “feta” or “parmesan” is therein examined. Market impacts in Germany, Denmark, France and the United Kingdom are also included. A copy of the report can be found here [pdf]. According to CCFN, the analysis shows that the EU has an anti-competitive approach to GIs that will result in significant lost revenues for US dairy farmers, lead to the closing of numerous cheese plants, and increase prices and reduce choices for consumers. Joseph Somers from Informa Economics IEG set out that according to economic theory, “consumers faced with purchasing an imported product with a familiar name which is GI-protected versus a product with a new name which is produced in the US would purchase less of that new name cheese and pay less for it.” Research undertaken by IEG relating to change to unfamiliar names shows that there could be a 39 percent drop in consumption, said Somers. Castaneda added that the study is just one example of an industry which has been harmed by Europe’s appropriation of common food names. Moreover, according to the report’s summary [pdf], these impacts would take a significant toll on the US economy, including cutting up to 175,000 rural jobs. Alexandra Nightingale is a researcher at Intellectual Property Watch. She completed her Bachelors in Law at the University of Sussex and holds an LLM degree in International Law from the School of Oriental and African Studies in London. During her Masters, she developed a strong interest in Intellectual Property, particularly patents and the aspects relating to global health. Her research interests now also include geographical indications and trademarks. Image Credits: Wikipedia Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Related Alexandra Nightingale may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org."GIs: US Industry Claims Harm From Misappropriation Of Common Food Names" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.