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Thursday, 22 December 2005

TRADEMARK WORLD; PORKIES GO TO COURT


Trademark World

The IPKat has just been thumbing through the December 2005/January 2006 issue of Informa's Trademark World . What has he found?

This issue is well supported by contributions from Rouse/Willoughby. Tony Willoughby himself writes on the need for brand owners to participate in consultations with the UK government over possible relaxations of Part 9 of the Enterprise Act 2002. Part 9 limits the circumstances in which public authorities such as Customs and Trading Standards offices can disclose information for civil litigants (eg IP owners) if it has been gathered for the purpose of criminal proceedings. Then Ranjan Narula (left) and Rachna Bakhru (right) of Rouse International's Dubai office review some of the sticky issues relating to likelihood of confusion between pharma trade marks.

One other feature that the IPKat particularly liked was a review by Wim Alberts (John & Kernick, Jo'berg) on sabotage marketing, a highly dubious cousin of the more legitimate, fun-loving ambush marketing, and on the means by which the law can stamp on it.


This little PGI went to market, this little PGI went to court ...

Yesterday was a big day for Melton Mowbray pies, following Northern Foods plc v Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs [2005] EWHC 2971 (Admin), a Queen’s Bench Division (Administrative Court) decision of Mr Justice Crane.

The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) forwarded to the European Commission an application by the to register the words ‘Melton Mowbray Pork Pie’ as a protected geographical indication (PGI) under Council Regulation 2081/92 on the protection of geographical indications and designations of origin for agricultural products and foodstuffs. Northern Foods, objecting to the narrow definition of the geographical area in the application's specification, sought judicial review of the decision to forward the application to the Commission.

Crane J dismissed the application for judicial review. In his view the words ‘originating’, ‘originate’ and ‘origin’ in the Regulation referred to where Melton Mowbray pork pies came from in the past, not to where they currently came from. Essentially, a foodstuff had to originate in a named geographical area and it also had to have a link with the geographical origin. If they were different concepts, one might then be geographically wider than the other.

The IPKat is most impressed at the ability of PGI and PDO law to turn back the clock and draw back into controlled usage a term such as "Melton Mowbray" that was very widely used with no apparent distress to the great pie-eating public. The same is happening with Feta. But who is speaking up for the consumers' interests?

This little piggy went to market ... here
Old Elizabethan Pig Pie here

2 comments:

GUY said...

If the Melton Mowbray area becomes the only legal source for the eponymous pies is there hope for CHEDDAR cheese to be similarly restricted like FETA cheese?

Anonymous said...

It should be noted that Melton Mowbray has not yet become a PGI - it still needs to be established to the European Commission's satisfaction that the the designation qualifies for protection. It may very well prove difficult to claim that the pies have any quality attributable to their geographical origin.

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