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Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Sausage GI applicants 'meat' their match

The IPKat's friend Marc Mimler, a PhD student at the Queen Mary Intellectual Property Research Institute (QMIPRI), has taken a keen interest in the fate of the Münchner Weisswurst. A ruling concerning this passion-generating sausage was tastily served to readers of the Class 46 weblog -- as luck would have it, by IPKat team member Birgit -- and Marc has offered a version of events for IPKat readers too. Marc writes:

"The German Federal Patent Court (Bundespatentgericht) released a judgment last Tuesday on the protection of the term "Münchner Weisswurst" as a geographical indication according to Article 126 ff. of the German Trade Mark Act which implemented Regulation 510/2006 on geographical indications and designations of origin. The press release by the court can be found in German here.

Münchner Weisswurst is a boiled sausage which is usually consumed with pretzels, sweet mustard and wheat beer. It was allegedly created in Munich on February 22, 1857 in the (in English, "Eternal light") Inn by the inn´s butcher Joseph ("Sepp")Moser. It is popular in Munich and the whole of Bavaria, and has been hailed as an outstanding sample of the Bavarian attitude to life. Many Weisswurst aficionados still abide by the rule that the Weisswurst "must not hear the 12 o´clock bells ringing", meaning that it should ideally be consumed in the morning (again, traditionally along with wheat beer).

The Society for the protection of the Münchner Weisswurst (Schutzgemeinschaft „Münchner Weisswurst“) filed an application with the German Patent and Trade Mark Office in 2005 to register the term Münchner Weisswurst as a geographical indication. If successful, production of the Weisswurst, along with the use of the term Münchner Weisswurst, would have only been permitted for butchers located in the City of Munich and its surrounding administrative council.

The German Patent and Trade Mark Office held that the term Münchner Weisswurst was eligible for protection as a geographical indication. This decision was appealed by several competitors and federations of producers, who stated that it would spell doom for the Weisswurst if competition would have been impaired by its protection as a geographical indication.

The Federal Patent Court allowed the competitors' appeal on the ground that Weisswürste have been produced in other regions of Bavaria and not just in and around Munich for decades. The sausage is a regional, mostly southern Bavarian speciality and is not limited to the Munich area. The court added that assessment of whether a term is eligible for protection as a geographical indication depends on an objectively determined assement of the prevailing conditions in the market, and only to a lesser extent on public opinion polls, this being in line with the most decisions of the European Court of Justice on geographical indications.

The decision however should not be perceived as being a massive disappointment to the local community of Münchner Weisswurst fans. The question of whether this Weisswurst originated from Munich is highly debated since a similar sausage, the "boudin blanc", was created by a French cook before Sepp Moser was even born".

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Doesn't "meating" a person have a different connotation, a rather suggestive one at that? :P

Guy said...

In Rochester, a city in upstate New York, the citizens are very proud of their "white hots" which are white sausages usually served as hot dogs. They claim these sausages are unique in the US. People who leave the city when suffering from nostalgia order white hots to be sent to their new home. Rochester had a large German speaking population, presumably of immigrants or their descendants, and a daily German language news paper was published until just after 1960. Possibly the white hots were introduced by a Bavarian immigrant. Bausch or Lomb possibly?

MM said...

That is a great photo of the cat. I am surprised that a German lawyer would tolerate a picture of a Wall's sausage or suchlike on the same page as a Weißwurst.
Can we agree on calling it a 'lightly simmered sausage' rather than a 'boiled sausage'?

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