Will Cheese Derail TAFTA/TTIP?

from the grating dept

A battle over cheese could prove a major problem for the TAFTA/TTIP negotiations currently getting down to serious discussions. Here's the background, as reported by the Guardian:

As part of trade talks, the European Union wants to ban the use of European names like parmesan, feta and gruyere on cheese made in the United States.

The argument is that the American-made cheeses are shadows of the original European varieties and cut into sales and identity of the European cheeses. The Europeans say parmesan should only come from Parma, Italy, not those familiar green cylinders that American companies sell. Feta should only be from Greece, even though feta isn't a place. The EU argues it "is so closely connected to Greece as to be identified as an inherently Greek product."
Needless to say, some people in the US are not best pleased with what they call "an absurd European initiative":
U.S. Senators Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) are working together to protect American dairy farmers and producers from an absurd European initiative that would change common names for cheeses Americans enjoy every day.

In a bipartisan letter signed by more than 50 of their Senate colleagues, Sens. Toomey and Schumer urged the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the United States Trade Representative (USTR) to fight European Union (EU) efforts to prohibit American dairy producers from using dozens of common cheese names. The EU claims that dairy products bearing names such as asiago, feta, parmesan, and muenster are "geographical indicators" and can only be appropriately displayed on products made in certain areas of Europe.
Techdirt has written about such geographical indications (GIs) before. There, the situation involving an attempt to protect "Belgian chocolate" was pretty trivial; now the stakes are much higher. Here's part of the Senators' letter:
Dear Secretary Vilsack and U.S. Trade Representative Froman:

We commend your past work to fight the growing geographical indication (GI) restrictions promoted by the European Union (EU). This trade barrier is of great concern to dairy and other food manufacturers in our states. On their behalf, we urge you to continue to push back against the EU's efforts to restrict our cheese exports, particularly to nations with which we already have free trade agreements. In addition, we urge you to make clear to your EU counterparts that the U.S. will reject any proposal in the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations now underway that would restrict in any way the ability of US producers to use common cheese names.
As that shows, there is pressure on the US negotiators to reject completely any EU calls for GIs in TAFTA/TTIP. Equally, the EU has made it clear that extending GI protection around the world is a priority. The European Commission says on its Web page dedicated to GIs:
The EU supports better protection of geographical indications internationally due to the increasing number of violations throughout the world. The EU is active in multilateral and bilateral negotiations protecting EU geographical indications.
Moreover, in the Canada-EU trade agreement (CETA), whose status is still unclear, Canada seems to have acquiesced to EU demands, as this story on CBC News explains:
The Europeans are particularly pleased about realizing all their goals in the area of geographic indicators or GIs, those products named for their origins, such as Gorgonzola or Feta cheeses.

"Canada -- not traditionally a friend of GIs -- has accepted that all types of food products will be protected at a comparable level to that offered by EU law and that additional GIs can be added in the future," says the document, noting 125 of Europe’s 145 "priority GIs" will enjoy full protection.

On cheeses, the document notes existing Canadian products are grandfathered, but new entrants will need to be identified by such modifiers as "style,” "type" or "imitation." The paper suggests winning the GI battle will give European manufacturers a significant leg up when competing with Canadian producers of similar products.
After that win, the EU will doubtless be looking for similar concessions from the US -- concessions that are unlikely to be granted, in view of the objections of the US dairy industry:
The National Milk Producers Association, International Dairy Foods Association, U.S. Dairy Export Council, American Farm Bureau Federation, Kraft, Leprino Foods, and others support Sens. Toomey and Schumer's efforts.
Given those strongly-opposing views, it's unclear how the issue of GIs will be resolved in the TAFTA/TTIP talks -- or even whether it can be resolved. It would be rather ironic if the biggest trade deal in history collapsed not because of clashes over major issues like corporate sovereignty or the Precautionary Principle, but over the names for cheese.

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Reader Comments (rss)

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  •  
    identicon
    any moose cow word, Mar 14th, 2014 @ 1:30am

    The binding power of cheese even stops trade deals from passing through apparently.

     

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    Jay (profile), Mar 14th, 2014 @ 1:37am

    Seems kind of a cheesy end to such an epic story.

     

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    sj, Mar 14th, 2014 @ 1:56am

    The best cheese is melted down to a fondue during winter :)

     

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    ECA (profile), Mar 14th, 2014 @ 2:09am

    You wanted it..

    Copyrights, are copyrights..

    American processing of CHEESE isnt real cheese in the OLD fashion.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2014 @ 3:29am

      Re: You wanted it..

      This has nothing to do with copyright, but it is very closely related to TRADEMARKS. GI is effectively a trademark, owned by a region instead of a corporate entity.

      It extends far beyond cheese as well, covering thing like Parma ham, and every single wine-district in Europe. Champagne is Champagne, until it's made outside Champagne, in which case it's Sparkling wine, Sekt, Crémant, Cava, etc.

      This may seem silly to some, which can be understandable, but imagine for a moment if Pepsi's and Coca Cola's trademarks suddenly didn't apply in Europe, and you begin to understand how much money and power lies in this problem.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2014 @ 6:16am

        Re: Re: You wanted it..

        Parmasan ham is a good example of a meaningful GI. If you are creating ham with the same recipe, the main designation of ham is still available and even though you cannot call it what it is closest to, it is still possible to make a meaningful name for the product.
        While Champagne is a specific region in France and sparkling white wine is a servicable alternative name, it is an unfortunate monopolisation if it isn't called something like "Champagne Sparkling Whine". Feta is even more ridiculous given the complete lack of geographic specificity and the stupid names you end up using to designate the products.

        GIs can be reasonable, but only if a generic product you are tagging it to exist. TSGs are very unfortunate, while PDOs and PGIs can have merit in certain cases.

         

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          JEDIDIAH, Mar 14th, 2014 @ 8:34am

          Re: You wanted it..

          No. The whole "wine is location" nonsense appears to be a mainly French fixation. Most other places in the world tend to focus on the actual material being used rather than the location of origin.

          The French approach is really pretty retarded actually. It doesn't actually tell you enough about the product.

          Although it's something that can vary from one hill to the next as different vintners use different approaches.

          If anyone has any questions/concerns about what's in a product or if it is "really genuine" then make more precise labels rather than new names that don't mean anything to anyone.

           

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            Anonymous Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2014 @ 9:23am

            Re: Re: You wanted it..

            Actually, if you learn to read the labels correctly they will tell you an awful lot about what is in the bottle. A batch that comes from all of the vineyards in the area will have a different label that a batch that comes from one vineyard, and still different if all of the grapes are from one year. So for a fairly generic wine, the label won't say much, but for a more specific wine it will say a lot more, and one usually pays for it as well. This label reading has been part of the mystic of wine drinking for a long, long time.

             

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            Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2014 @ 9:28am

            Re: Re: You wanted it..

            French fixation? It's an obsession everywhere.

            Here in the States, we had Bronco Wine Co v. Jolly make it all the way to the Supreme Court; the question involved a California law restricting the use of the word 'Napa' in wines. Aside from Napa Valley, there's laws in place for Long Island NY, Willamette Valley OR, and Sonoma CA, and that's just off the top of my head.

            Other international wine names include Rioja, Chianti, and Tokaj, none of which are in France. Australia cares a lot, as does Mexico.

            It may or may not be a stupid policy, but claiming that it's only a French policy is absurd.

             

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            Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2014 @ 9:30am

            Re: Re: You wanted it..

            Retarded? Well... there's plenty of shit champagne out there, but it still sells for far more than it's actually worth because people are willing to pay for the name. Printing "champagne" on a bottle doubles the price you can sell it for, even if it is complete garbage inside the bottle.

            Same thing with a Louis Vuitton bag. There's cheaper alternatives with equal or better quality and design. People still buy overpriced goods purely for the name. Some people are willing to pay for the status symbol.

            As for not saying anything about the product: "DKNY" or "Apple" says nothing about a product except who designed it; it could (and probably is) made in China ny underpaid workers. "Champagne" or "Gruyere" guarantees where it's made, and that it's been made using a specific method. So... no. The requirement to use a GI actually comes with some requirements, unlike normal trademarks.

            Stupid or not, GI makes as much sense as the rest of trademark law, and there's billions to make for those that can print the names on their products. You'll have about as much luck making the EU abandon the GIs as you have making the US abandon trademark law. None.

             

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            DogBreath, Mar 14th, 2014 @ 10:59am

            Re: Re: You wanted it..

            The French approach is really pretty retarded actually. It doesn't actually tell you enough about the product.

            Such as details about it may be grown in France, but it has American roots.

             

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        Archangel, Mar 15th, 2014 @ 7:50am

        Re: Re: You wanted it..

        Not a trademark nor a copyright involved in these cases - most obviously there are in fact no registered copyrights nor trademarks involved nor can there be due both to ubiquity and length of time in use - so it simply boils down to protectionism - EU cheese makers are being hit by comparable or better cheeses so they want to stake out names to try to protect themselves rather than compete on quality alone - the labels all clearly indicate "made in" location but if they feel their location somehow makes their cheese better than they're free to emphasize it "Cheddar England Cheddar Cheese" - but if you can't compete in a free market against Wisconsin made artisanal cheddar cheese, then you need to up your game

         

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      Archangel, Mar 15th, 2014 @ 7:37am

      Re: You wanted it..

      And yet many American made cheeses routinely beat their old world cousins at international competitions - so this is nothing more than protectionism - especially since all the labels have clear "made in" designations - so anyone can tell that excellent parmesan cheese was made in Wisconsin not Parma - EU protectionists would like to claim it's about truth in labeling and product identity hut clearly it's not

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2014 @ 2:18am

    do as is normal for the US, threaten the EU with something until it just rolls over and asks for it's belly to be rubbed!

     

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    Niall (profile), Mar 14th, 2014 @ 2:24am

    The EU does take its GI seriously, although I can see their point - it does help protect 'correct products' from the correct location, and the small producers. Certainly, if "X-style" or "imitation X" is allowed, that makes sense.

    Just an extension of copyright mentality, really, so nothing more than the US deserves!

     

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      Archangel, Mar 15th, 2014 @ 8:01am

      Re:

      It has nothing to do with copyright or trademarks - it's simple old world protectionism - learn to compete globally on quality instead of trying to absurdly fence off by locations - every product has a "made in" designator already and a particular parmesan cheese made in Parma is not guaranteed to be better than one made in Wisconsin - that's been proven at multiple international competitions - just as Australian Sauternes have beaten French Sauternes at many competitions but the Australians caved too easily and label their sauternes "botrytis wine" - and yet their "inferior not made in France" wines kick French sauternes butt repeatedly

       

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    the truth, Mar 14th, 2014 @ 2:29am

    USA doesnt even know what cheese is!

    You mean america gets all its cheese out of 1 container like everything else and labels it with whatever name they want to and because they have all the guns everyone must take from the same 'tube' as they have done with the USD!

    Well fuck you america, just like the rest of the food available in the USA, no one wants your processed bullshit! No one wants your poisoned meat(animals injected with numerous antibodies and growth horemoins), fruit & veg, 'cheese', pop 'soda' and just about EVERYTHING that is exported from USA is POISIONOUS to life on earth!

    Jesus man, cheese is just the beggining of what Americans think are food but are actually poisonous weapons of your governments own making!

    Now they are trying make it global as they have done with corn syrup, aspetamme(asperflame k), fluoride, mercury, aluminium and 100's of other toxic, crippling chemicals in everything you use!

    Its a shame people are crying about just the cheese and not everything else they poisoned the world with already! Cheese isthe last problem on the table here! That iI azure you of!

    You know you allow over 30 different typrez of chemicals into your child's bloodstream before there 1! Doctors happy inject everyone's child with these life changing 'vacines' that themselves course massive brain damage and are slowly but surely making everyone decease back into the dark ages intellectually and physically!

    And you moan about cheese! Fucking sheeple!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2014 @ 2:35am

    Its absurd when Americans are supposed to respect international 'copyright' but absolutely necessary for the rest of the world to accept American 'copyright'

    Talk about doublethink

     

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      JEDIDIAH, Mar 14th, 2014 @ 8:38am

      Rent Seeking Nonsense

      No. This is much more like patents and trademarks. The Greeks get the patent/trademark on Feta. Never mind that you could make it yourself in your own kitchen. You can't call a thing what it is despite the fact that you used the same recipe. You have to call it something entirely else and intentionally misleading.

      They do this with Vietnamese fish and I find it equally galling there.

      The beauty about an atrocity like this is it makes it really easy to boycott the people responsible. If it actually goes through, we will all know who's cheese needs to be thrown in the local harbor.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2014 @ 10:02am

      Re:

      That is standard doublethink is called nationalism, or in this particular instance of nationalism-specific-labeling patriotism. When we invade countries it is stabilizing. When anyone else does it is destabilizing. When we produce weapons it generates security, when any else does it endangers it.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2014 @ 2:36am

    I had to laugh that my rep Toomey, who usually supports these terrible trade agreements like TAFTA and TTP, apparently draws the line at cheese. Apparently you can be totally secretive and allow Hollywood to bypass Congress and force shit laws onto every one, but by lord don't fuck with the cheese. Maybe if I lobby him with some gorgonzola he might actually represent his constituents on other issues. Time to send him a cheese basket.

     

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    fairuse (profile), Mar 14th, 2014 @ 3:18am

    Doing his job.

    I was going to say the Senator is doing his job. The geographical indication (GI) is serious here in USofA. What foods, drink would I make a fuss over? Virginia Ham. I grew up in hog country and Danish Ham is a flat tasting bore next to Smithfield Ham AKA Virginia Ham.

    This kind out argument, who can call "What" by it's historical name, can turn into a nasty fight. I"m feeling a little better now that a food fight will slow down TAFTA/TTIP.

     

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      John Fenderson (profile), Mar 14th, 2014 @ 8:44am

      Re: Doing his job.

      I've never heard of Virginia Ham -- which matters because a GI wouldn't mean that people who've been using a term for generations suddenly have to stop for no real reason.

      Also, does "Virginia ham", like Parma ham, refer to a particular method of production, or is simply ham from Virginia?

      If the former, then a GI seems ridiculous. If the latter, it makes more sense.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2014 @ 3:22am

    I never thought I would root this much for cheese in my life.
    Even goat-cheese will have my gratitude if TAFTA/TTIP falls through.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2014 @ 3:26am

    This makes no sense.
    As long as we have these rules in the EU, and the cheese is labeled "made in EU", there will be no confusion about their origin.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2014 @ 3:36am

      Re:

      Does this mean I can make Coca Cola, as long as I label it "Made by Pepsi"? There's no customer confusion... Gi and trademarks are closely related, and if Coke from Pepsi sounds like it will never happen, then Champagne from California is equally unlikely to ever happen.

       

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        JEDIDIAH, Mar 14th, 2014 @ 8:41am

        The relevant term is COLA

        Except the EU isn't talking about any real trademarks here. They are trying to claim ownership of "cola".

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2014 @ 9:44am

          Re: The relevant term is COLA

          I'd argue with that.

          They aren't placing a GI on "sparkling wine", but on "champagne", "sekt", "spumanti" and "crémant".

          They are not placing a GI on "cheese", but on "gruyere", "feta", and "parmesan".

          They aren't placing a GI on "dried ham", but on "parma ham".

          See the difference? Sweden recently started the process of getting their "Västerbotten" cheese registered as a Gi. They aren't going for "cheese" but for "västerbotten".

          See where I'm going here?

          Besides, the notion that the US can sit on a high horse here is complete bullshit. Here's a quick excerpt from wikipedia:

          The WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights ("TRIPS") defines "geographical indications" as indications that identify a good as originating in the territory of a Member, or a region or locality in that territory, where a given quality, reputation or other characteristic of the good is essentially attributable to its geographic origin. Examples of geographical indications from the United States include: "FLORIDA" for oranges; "IDAHO" for potatoes; "VIDALIA" for onions; and "WASHINGTON STATE" for apples. Geographical indications are valuable to producers for the same reason that trademarks are valuable. Geographical indications serve the same functions as trademarks, because like trademarks they are: source-identifiers; guarantees of quality; and valuable business interests. Although, as mentioned above "geographical indications" are often associated with Europe, the U.S. system for protection of geographical indications can be dated to at least the Trademark Act of 1946.

           

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        DogBreath, Mar 14th, 2014 @ 11:46am

        Re: Re:

        then Champagne from California is equally unlikely to ever happen.

        It is already happening.



        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Korbel_Champagne_Cellars#Products

        "Korbel uses the term "Champagne" on most of its labels. Whereas most other US producers identify their sparkling wine as such, and indicate the location where their grapes are produced, Korbel relies on a "semi-generic" provision under US law.[2] Korbel uses the term "California Champagne" and "Russian River Valley Champagne" on many of its labels. On its website, Korbel calls itself "producers of fine California méthode champenoise champagnes for 129 years."[3]"



        The U.S. could just include "Cheese" (it goes with wine, after all) into its semi-generic law, and then put something like "American" in front of words like "parmesan, feta and gruyere", sold in the U.S. after the Treaty is signed, and all will be well.



        As Ferengi Rule of Acquisition 212 states: "A warranty without loopholes is a liability.", so is a Trade Agreement.

         

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2014 @ 3:53am

      Re:

      You miss the point.

      Feta cheese not made in Greece but in the US will be called Feta cheese same as the genuine article. Whereas Feta cheese made in Germany has to be called Feta-style cheese.

      Even if the EU products have made in the EU on them that doesn't stop the confusion from the US products that seem to be from somewhere else.

       

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        John Fenderson (profile), Mar 14th, 2014 @ 6:43am

        Re: Re:

        That's an easily resolved issue: require the name change on the stuff sold in the EU.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2014 @ 9:07am

          Re: Re: Re:

          equally easy to require a name change in the USA. You are not that special to demand everyone else to bend to your will.

           

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            weneedhelp (profile), Mar 14th, 2014 @ 9:12am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            FAIL... "name change on the stuff sold in the EU" meaning US producers change the label for EU consumption.
            -
            "You are not that special to demand" - Seems like you certainly are... special.

             

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            John Fenderson (profile), Mar 14th, 2014 @ 11:07am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "You are not that special to demand everyone else to bend to your will."

            Nobody is demanding any such thing. It's exactly the other way around.

             

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        craig, Mar 17th, 2014 @ 6:53am

        Re: Re:

        Actually in the EU "style", "like" etc. are banned throughout the EU if they are accompanied by names who have GI status. It is not possible to call something Feta style cheese in the EU

         

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2014 @ 3:32am

    Just a note to everyone here since the word "copyright" appears quite a few times. This isn't remotely related to copyright. GI is however a close relative to trademarks.

     

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    Ninja (profile), Mar 14th, 2014 @ 3:52am

    Parmesan will be the same goddamn cheese no matter if it came from Parma or not. In fact there are plenty examples of things that are made better out of their originating places. This is the most half-assed excuse I've seen in a while. But if it fucks up these awful trade agreements I'm all for ti.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2014 @ 4:09am

      Re:

      Fair enough, but can't the same be said for any other kind of trademark?

      Remember the Pepsi challenge? A majority of people actually prefer Pepsi, but they still buy Coca Cola. Shouldn't Pepsi be equally entitled to sell Coca Cola then, as clearly they have the better product?

      Trademarks isn't about making a better product. It's about protecting your brand name. A name often sells better than a better product.

      The only significant difference between GI and trademarks is that trademarks are controlled by corporations, and GIs are controlled by several corporations in a region. Call it a "geographically collective trademark" if you will.

      But I'm with you regardless. Let's hope it breaks a "trade" agreement.

       

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        cpt kangarooski, Mar 14th, 2014 @ 5:42am

        Re: Re:

        Well remember, the sine qua non of a trademark is that it is associated in the mind of a consumer with the similarly marked goods originating from a common source. All the cans labeled as Coke Classic contain a drink that tastes the same, and comes from the Coca-Cola company. But not all cans labeled soda or soft drink or pop have same-tasting contents (remember Homer Simpson preferring crab juice over Mountain Dew?), and could come from anywhere.

        I would bet good money that the vast majority of my fellow Americans have never heard of Parma, could not tell you where it was, what they're known for, and could not find it on a map.

        Most geographical indicators just do not function over here. We don't know or care about them. To us, cheddar cheese is a kind of cheese, not cheese from a particular place. It's totally generic.

        This is the problem with most GIs; the people trying to get them are not willing to work for it. If they launched a huge ad campaign and sustained it for years and years they might actually convince people that these goods are only those goods when they're from those places, made in those methods, etc. and that everything else is a pale imitation at best. This is possible.

        But they're lazy pricks and just want a monopoly over the name and associated goodwill given to them on a silver platter.

        Fuck 'em.

        I don't have a problem with the idea of trademarks or generally how trademark law works. (Though some things, such as dilution, are bad ideas) But I have no sympathy for anyone who wants to get GI rights without earning them in the marketplace.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2014 @ 9:56am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Idaho potatoes? Protected GI.
          Florida oranges? Protected GI.

          So what if Americans suck at geography? How does that change anything? The reason Americans don't associate Parmesan with Parma is that the US never bothered to respect foreign GIs, and just made cheap knockoffs in the states.

          Just tell me how the US is any better than the EU here.

           

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2014 @ 4:12am

    this is all about customer deceiption. how little do american companys think of their product, if they think they cant compete without masking its Heritage. and printing a little "made in USA" on the back is not enough. most customers wont check and thats exactly what they are banking on.

     

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      John Fenderson (profile), Mar 14th, 2014 @ 6:45am

      Re:

      It has nothing to do with customer deception. Nobody in the US thinks that Parmesan cheese comes from Parma unless it says so on the container. Nobody is being deceived.

       

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        jackn, Mar 14th, 2014 @ 7:20am

        Re: Re:

        Think of it this way. The customers being decieved would be in the EU. Now do you get it?

        When you say, Nobody is being deceived, you mean no Amerikans are being deceived. Thats a little deceiving.

         

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          John Fenderson (profile), Mar 14th, 2014 @ 8:23am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "The customers being decieved would be in the EU. Now do you get it?"

          If that's the case, that's a problem easily resolved by changing the labeling laws in the EU itself. There is no need to mandate the same change in US laws. Now do you get it?

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2014 @ 9:05am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            and why not? the USA does it all the time, time take some of your own medicine.

             

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              jupiterkansas (profile), Mar 14th, 2014 @ 9:59am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Pretty sure they're already printing separate labels for European countries, so I don't see why this should affect the United States at all.

               

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              John Fenderson (profile), Mar 14th, 2014 @ 11:11am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Two wrongs don't make a right. It's time to fight this sort of thing regardless of who is doing it.

               

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            Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2014 @ 10:01am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            The US has GIs of its own, like Idaho potatoes and Florida oranges. You won't mind if I start selling Idaho potatoes and Florida oranges (made in Germany and Serbia) to Mexico and Canada do you? After all, where's the harm? I'll label them correctly when I export them to the US, I promise.

            How well do you think that'd go over with the potato and orange farmers in the US?

             

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              John Fenderson (profile), Mar 14th, 2014 @ 11:10am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Idaho potatoes and Florida oranges are not descriptive terms -- that is, they aren't indicating a specific type of potatoes or oranges, merely where they were grown.

              The cheese thing is a little different, because those names are describing types of cheeses.

              If cheesemakers were falsely declaring their cheeses actually came from areas they didn't come from, you'd have a point (although your point would be that they were engaging in fraud, no GI law is needed for that). But they aren't.

               

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                zip, Mar 14th, 2014 @ 1:15pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                "Idaho potatoes and Florida oranges are not descriptive terms -- that is, they aren't indicating a specific type of potatoes or oranges, merely where they were grown."


                But then certain oranges are sold as "Florida Jaffa" - apparently to steer clear of the trademarked Palestinian/Israeli-grown regional variety of citrus fruits.

                 

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      weneedhelp (profile), Mar 14th, 2014 @ 9:43am

      Re:

      Made in America? Dont you mean an American company sourced to the Chinese to make the French product for sale to Americans? Made in America? I am not familiar with that term. Is it a new thing?

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2014 @ 4:13am

    Oh, the US is cheese hurt, too bad so sad.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2014 @ 4:33am

    GI is really a very small extension to trademark law, allowing a trademark to be granted to a region instead of a corporation.

    For once though, this is something that would hurt the major US players instead of protect them - and suddenly this minor detail is a complete deal-breaker. Says a lot about IP doesn't it? We are spoon fed the bullshit that IP is what makes or breaks entire economies, that it's about fairness and customer protection, but in the light of this it does seem like it's all about protecting me and mine, and fuck everyone else. I find this interesting.

    Can't help but wonder what the world would be like if trademark law had never been created, and someone tried to introduce this piece of legislation today. I'm guessing it would be torn to pieces by large corporations defending their "right" to sell any product they like.

     

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      John Fenderson (profile), Mar 14th, 2014 @ 6:48am

      Re:

      "GI is really a very small extension to trademark law, allowing a trademark to be granted to a region instead of a corporation."

      I don't think it's "very small" at all. Actual trademarks can't be retroactively applied. That is, if there is a term for a product that has been used by all manufacturers for a very long time, it would not be eligible for trademark. This is a substantial extension of trademark law.

      "Says a lot about IP doesn't it?"

      it does indeed.

       

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        JEDIDIAH, Mar 14th, 2014 @ 8:45am

        It's like RICO all over again.

        This is a big fat virtual land grab and changing of the rules.

        This is the perfect example of everything that is wrong with intellectual property laws. Some people are just falling into the trap of allowing a bad law just because it seems to punish an evil person.

        That's how legal atrocities start. The precedent is set for a victim that no one has any sympathy for.

         

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2014 @ 4:52am

    Hahahahahahahahaha
    They can dish it, but they can't take it.
    Live by the sword - die by the sword.
    You made your bed, now sleep in it.
    Sleep with dogs, wake up with fleas.

    What a bunch of hypocrites.

     

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    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2014 @ 6:42am

      Re:

      More! We need more old adages and silly sayings!

      He who laughs last, laughs best.
      A stitch in time saves nine.
      Still waters run deep.
      A penny saved is a penny earned.

      Don't stop now!

       

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    Kronomex, Mar 14th, 2014 @ 5:25am

    If cheese can cause constipation lets hope it can help clog up the shit the USTR is trying to foist on the rest of the world!

     

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    Wally (profile), Mar 14th, 2014 @ 6:22am

    The argument is that the American-made cheeses are shadows of the original European varieties and cut into sales and identity of the European cheeses.

    In that case I propose that the European beef market shut down because it's a mere shadow of the American beef market...

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2014 @ 9:02am

      Re:

      And the american beef market should equally be shut down because it is a pale shadow of the argentinian beef market.

       

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    Dustin, Mar 14th, 2014 @ 6:47am

    You know, for something that's supposedly a "shadow of the original" the a EU sure does guy a lot of American cheese. I don't know about the rest of the nation but here in Wisconsin my local grocery store has an entire aisle devoted to just cheese, and the selection and quality is just as good as the best I ever experienced in Europe.

    The EU is pretending to be a gaggle of cheese snobs to cover up for a blatant attempt to prop up their local cheese makers and harm their biggest competitor. It couldn't be more obvious.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2014 @ 10:07am

      Re:

      Google "us geographical indications". It's sad really. The US is clearly just trying to cash in and prop up their lousy agriculture and harm their biggest competitors. It's so obvious. Best Idaho potatoes I ever had were french. Pfft.

       

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    zip, Mar 14th, 2014 @ 6:48am

    Trademark success depends largely on how aggressively a commercial interest lobbies and sues. The Scotch Whisky Association has a long history of protecting not just the "Scotch" name, but suing any distiller who labels its product in any manner having the slightest resemblance to Scotland or its distillers.

     

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    Interesting, Mar 14th, 2014 @ 6:50am

    With the increasing amount of shortsightesness and 'surveillance', it might still be safe to say:

    -Cheese-

     

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    Nick (profile), Mar 14th, 2014 @ 7:15am

    Happy cheese, comes from upset American dairy manufacturers.

     

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    jupiterkansas (profile), Mar 14th, 2014 @ 7:58am

    This is why I only eat American cheese.

     

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    madasahatter (profile), Mar 14th, 2014 @ 7:58am

    Labeling and Production Method

    Under US law, one can label your sparkling wine or cheese by the appropriate descriptive name such as champagne, feta, Gouda, etc. as long as the proper raw materials and production methods are used. So US Gouda cheese is made from the same type of milk and the same methods as the Dutch cheese. The issue is partly trademark and partly protectionism. The EU is demanding a trademark for regional products that could be made else where by others to protect the local (EU) producers. Often there is no discernible difference between the US and EU products except maybe price.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2014 @ 10:32am

      Re: Labeling and Production Method

      I think the problem is a lot simpler: the US wants to protect their own GIs, but ignore everyone else's GIs.

      I'd say it's 100% protectionism.

       

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    Anonymous Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2014 @ 8:54am

    GI as a necessity

    There are some instances where GI is important, and has already settled the naming/location issue. Take the example of what Americans call Blue Cheese.

    France = Roquefort
    England = Stilton
    Italy = Gorgonzola

    If memory serves correctly, each of these are cured in caves, and the microbes in the different caves are, well, different and produce a slight different cheese. There may be some other differences like the type of milk used, but I don't remember specifically. The point is, that here is an example of a similar product that is produced in different places, and named accordingly, and necessarily differently to signify that difference.

    Take the champagne issue. The stuff from the Champagne region of France is quite a bit different that other wines made under methode chamagnois, and this has to do with things like soil chemistry, latitude, local weather, that years weather, etc. The grape varieties got a bit mixed over time as a lot of the European plants were devastated by a disease and were replanted with cuttings from other places, like California. There are still legitimate differences. Once one learns to read wine labels, and what the differences between Appelation Controlee vs Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita vs Qualitätswein mit Prädikat, the different rules for three different countries, tells one a lot about what to expect from the bottle. This adds to the experience, but admittedly can be very confusing to the novice.

     

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      John Fenderson (profile), Mar 14th, 2014 @ 9:06am

      Re: GI as a necessity

      "the microbes in the different caves are, well, different and produce a slight different cheese."

      The microbes are not absorbed from the caves. They are intentionally introduced during the cheesemaking process. What microbes are used is not a function of geography.

      "here is an example of a similar product that is produced in different places, and named accordingly, and necessarily differently to signify that difference."

      I don't think it's an example of that, really. If I buy Roquefort, it is distinguishably Roquefort and not Stilton whether or not it was made in France.

      "The stuff from the Champagne region of France is quite a bit different that other wines made under methode chamagnois"

      Yes, and the champagne made by one winery in the Champagne region of France is quite a bit different from that made by a different winery in the Champagne region of France. GIs don't help with this issue at all -- that's what brand names are for.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2014 @ 8:59am

    I have eaten american cheese, anything that would stop these abominations from being made is a gift to humanity.

    So the choice is either no TTIP/TAFTA or no american cheese posing for real cheese, either way the world wins...

     

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    Alien Rebel (profile), Mar 14th, 2014 @ 9:10am

    Cheese Melt

    O.K., let me get this straight- this kerfluffle is about erecting new trade barriers? Damn, I guess that does it for all pretense of "free trade."

    Oh, wait, I'm forgetting I'm on the stupid planet, . .

     

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      John Fenderson (profile), Mar 14th, 2014 @ 1:00pm

      Re: Cheese Melt

      "Free trade" is nothing more than a marketing buzzword. It can't actually exist in reality without causing pretty widespread economic devastation because economies in different parts of the world are very, very different.

      All free trade agreements are really about low-level economic warfare, with each nation trying to force foreign markets open on terms favorable to them while trying to keep their own markets as closed as possible.

       

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        Alien Rebel (profile), Mar 14th, 2014 @ 3:18pm

        Re: Re: Cheese Melt

        We appear to have a slight misunderstanding; I did not suggest in any way that "free trade" is a valid concept. I merely pointed out the absurdity of applying it to, of all things, something that would raise trade barriers. You humans really crack me up sometimes.

         

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2014 @ 9:12am

    Well, then, I suppose

    that all the Italian and French restaurants in US are screwed, as would be any American company making French salad dressing, Italian salad dressing, and so on, or serving up French fries. Rename that deli shop Bologna something else please, and pull all the books espousing the Mediterranean Diet.
    Once it all gets silly enough, even the lazy thinkers propped up in front of the TV 24x7 might take the trouble to find all this just plain nuts.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2014 @ 9:47am

    As a Philly native, we shall barter for our own GI's. No longer shall one be able to make a "Philly Cheesesteake" if they are not in fact made within Philadelphia, PA. I will also argue for the sake of Chicago and Brooklyn and say that one cannot call a pizza "Chicago" or "Brooklyn" unless they are made in their respective areas. And you best figure out the difference between Wisconsin and New York cheddar before you can't use those names either.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2014 @ 10:12am

      Re:

      US already already registered Idaho potatoes, Florida oranges, etc... The US started in the GI business long ago, though it hasn't really taken off yet.

      So you are in luck. The precedent for registering a Philly cheese steak is already there.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2014 @ 10:04am

    They should just register the GI's as trademarks then the US would be falling over itself to extend the protection on precious "IP"

     

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    identicon
    Andrew D. Todd, Mar 14th, 2014 @ 2:10pm

    New Names For Wine

    The California wine-makers have largely adjusted their nomenclature, so as not to conflict with EU geographical identities. They have taken to calling a certain type of mass-produced full-bodied red wine Pinot Noir instead of Red Burgundy, and of course Red Burgundy is made in the old Duchy of Burgundy from Pinot Noir grapes which the California wine-makers also use, having imported vine-cuttings from the Duchy of Burgundy a hundred years or so ago. The same goes for Sauvignon Blanc and White Bordeaux. The transformation worked because Pinot Noir sounds, if anything, more French than Burgundy, and terms like California Burgundy and Tokay had the traditional association of being the stuff derelicts, or "Winos," drank while lying on the sidewalk. The wine-makers had a certain incentive "to cast off gross acquaintance."

    During the Second World War, shortly before the Normandy Invasion, maybe about late 1943 or early 1944, when there were about two million American troops in England, the King of England, George VI, was inspecting an American camp. Visiting the cook-house, His Majesty nibbled on a bit of cheese, which would almost certainly have been Cheddar, and said "good." The American cook-sergeant replied: "Of course it's good, it was made in Wisconsin."

    Now the term Cheddar technically refers to the village of Cheddar, in the county of Somerset, in the west of England. Cheddar is about ten miles outside of Bristol, and, in the age of sail, Bristol was England's great "expedition port," from which long and dangerous voyages to the far corners of the world were launched. In the fifteenth century, before Columbus, Bristolmen were fishing off the coast of Newfoundland and Greenland. The sailors insisted on the best possible provisions, and the village of Cheddar organized a cheese-making cooperative to produce cheese of the required specifications, a special kind of cheese which would be edible in six months or a year, after the beef had gone rotten, during a long voyage. Of course the sailors were a fairly small market-- a few hundred ships, a few thousand men-- and they could be supplied from a restricted area. This broke down when non-sailors began consuming Cheddar in a serious way. About the same time, the steamship came along, and Bristol was eclipsed by Liverpool. The EU "locavores" have instituted a "West Country Farmhouse Cheddar" area, viz. Somerset, Dorset, Devon, and Cornwall, but of course most of this area has no deep-maritime tradition, and is essentially irrelevant to the origins of Cheddar. Many of the authentic cheeses this area produces are of a type which will not keep for more than a month or two.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cheddar_cheese

    The United States Department of Agriculture says that you cannot call something "cheese" unless it is made from cultured milk. The debased American product, Velveeta, which you see in convenience stores, is not cheese, American or otherwise, and is not allowed to be called so. It is a "processed cheese product." The feds periodically have to step on the manufacturer's toes, when the manufacturer goes over the line, making false representations.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Velveeta#Ingredients

    American Cheese is sort of non-existent. I don't know offhand where I could buy American Cheese, which is lawfully a kind of vin ordinaire of cheese. There used to be something you could buy in convenience stores, which was described as American Cheese, which was a kind of honest vin ordinaire of a cheese, like the proverbial Algerian-assisted Beaujolais, but I haven't seen that for years, at least in solid chunks or slices (you can still get American cheese in shredded form-- the high surface area, relative to volume, means that it melts readily without being debased with peanut derivatives). What a store will sell, nowadays, is a lawful mild cheddar, and below that, something from the pit, Velveeta or the equivalent, which is not lawfully allowed to be called cheese in any way, shape or form. Continuing the analogy, it would be the equivalent of a "wine" made out of industrial alcohol (ultimately made from gasoline), water, and artificial grape flavoring.

     

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    John Fenderson (profile), Mar 14th, 2014 @ 4:00pm

    "The debased American product, Velveeta, which you see in convenience stores, is not cheese, American or otherwise, and is not allowed to be called so. It is a "processed cheese product.""

    This is a common myth. Velveeta is actually real cheese. The reason it can't be called that it contains too much uncultured milk to qualify. So it's a "cheese product" instead of "cheese".

    The processing referred to in the "processed" part is that they take the cheese and squeeze it through a fine sieve to break up all the curds.

    Fun fact: The secret to why Velveeta melts so nicely is the added sodium citrate.

     

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    LeeJS (profile), Mar 15th, 2014 @ 5:22am

    Don't worry Americans

    This cuts both ways. If it's approved you'll have equal protection for your own high quality cheeses like...Whizz..and String and...um...American?

    Joking aside I'm surprised more concern has made about Cheddar claiming its GI.

     

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    ShivaFang (profile), Mar 19th, 2014 @ 11:04am

    For that matter - stop calling it "Canadian Bacon" Our bacon is the same as yours, what Americans call "Canadian Bacon" is just back bacon (from the back of the pig)

     

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    gofastek.com, Jun 24th, 2014 @ 10:38pm

    re:

    Thanks for putting an effort to publish this information and for sharing this with us.

    Ceddy
    www.gofastek.com

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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