For the half-year to 31 December 2014, the IPKat's regular team is supplemented by contributions from guest bloggers Rebecca Gulbul, Lucas Michels and Marie-Andrée Weiss.

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Monday, 6 August 2012

Mars, the bringer of ... calories. But will he land a PGI?

The world is celebrating today the news that NASA's rover Curiosity has successfully landed on Mars --  no, not the The Bringer of War but the planet hitherto known to be inhabited only by spiders.  This landing is another major step in mankind's colonisation of his solar system, an achievement almost as great as being able to run 100 metres in 9.63 seconds. Not to be outdone by all this news from space, this weblog brings news of another attempt to colonise Mars -- this time a little closer to home.

It is well known on this blog that this Kat has more than a passing interest in intellectual property issues as they relate to food. If any evidence is needed, just see her earlier Katposts here and here on Reggae Reggae sauce and Katpost here on Lea Valley Cucumbers. More generally, this Kat is also known as a chocaholic, with a surprising ability to detect other people's carefully-concealed chocolate caches at well-nigh Olympic distances -- all of which goes to explain her interest in the 'deep fried Mars Bar' ...

Lorraine Watson, of the Carron Fish Bar in Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire, claims to have invented the deep-fried delicacy at her snack bar in 1995. She claims that she sells over 150 of 'Stonehaven Deep Fried Mars Bars' every week and that it has become very popular with tourists visiting the area. On the strength of this, Ms Watson has recently made an application for a protected geographical indication (PGI) in the EU in respect of her 'Stonehaven Deep Fried Mars Bar'. As readers will be aware, PGIs identify products as originating from a region or particular locality. For a PGI product, its reputation for quality or authenticity is intimately linked to its geographical origin. In Europe, with its rich history of local and specialist agricultural production, many famous products are closely linked to their place of origin. The more well-known European examples include Parma Ham, Roquefort Cheese and Champagne. In the UK, these include the Melton Mowbray Pork Pie, the Cumberland Sausage, the Cornish Pasty, Jersey Royal Potatoes and Kentish Ale.

Ms Watson is quoted as saying:
'We tend to find that people either love it or hate it, but it definitely has a quirky quality and lots of folk come to Stonehaven and want to try it for themselves. And there is a serious side to it as well. The Deep-Fried Mars Bar is something which is made and sold all over the world, from the United States to Australia. So why shouldn't we try to do something to make sure we are remembered as the fish-and-chip shop and the community which came up with the dish in the first place?' 
The IPKat wonders what is actually being protected here. Although he has heard of the concept of the deep fried Mars Bar, until now, he had never heard of it being used in connection with Stonehaven. Are readers aware of any goodwill in this particular variation of the deep fried Mars Bar?

Merpel notes that Stonehaven Deep Fried Mars Bar contains the trade mark Mars Bar and cannot imagine the good folks at Mars, Inc being enthused about their well known trade mark being included in someone else's PGI ...

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Although he has heard of the concept of the deep fried Mars Bar..."

Indeed the whole European IP profession are now aware of them, thanks to the AG's opinion in Leno Merken BV v Hegelkruis Beheer BV. From now on they will be the textbook illustration of how localised use can constitute valid use for the purposes of maintaining a CTM.

Serenasaurus said...

I found this article, http://www.thefreelibrary.com/No+Haven+For+The+Deep+Fried+Mars+Bar%3B+Birthplace+of+the+battered...-a060821659, saying that this shop (The Carron Fish Bar) has closed down. The copyright is "Copyright 2000". I am now a little confused.

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