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Thursday, 22 January 2009

Rocky ride for Roquefort -- so will Coke come a cropper?

The IPKat nearly choked over his Cornflakes this morning when he read this piece in The Telegraph ("France targets Coca-Cola in escalating 'cheese wars'") about the latest tit-for-tat trade war stupidity. In short, makers of roquefort cheese are pressing the French government to place import duties on Coca-Cola syrup in retaliation for a punitive American duty of 300% levelled on US imports of Roquefort cheese. The American measures were a retaliatory response to the European Union's ban on imports of US hormone-treated beef. According to French parliamentarian Philippe Folliot, whose constituency contains many Roquefort producers:

"Since the United States has decided to surtax one of the most ancient (cheese) appellations, I think that the French government, with the European Union, must think about a heavy specific tax on imports of Coca-Cola concentrates produced in the US".
He has called upon Barack Obama to remove the "shocking" Roquefort duty, which, he said "uselessly stigmatises an already fragile sector".

The thing that upsets the IPKat is that valuable items of intellectual property are being bandied around by politicians and economists without any thought for their owners, users and inherent value.  Coca-Cola is a brand in private ownership; but what recompense is there for its owners if, following these actions, its market share and brand value are damaged? And who will pick up the pieces after the goodwill of a Protected Designation of Origin for an innocent sheep's cheese is ruined? [Merpel says, hold on there -- what's innocent? The sheep or the cheese?].  If the French and US governments seized real estate or items of personal property held by each other's citizens there would be an outcry, so why should intellectual property be any different?

Little Roquefort and the Haunted Cat here
Is it safe for cats to eat cheese? Click here to find out
Pizza cheese to come from milked cats? Click here

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