Sunday 2 May 2021

Regional naming rights

Appellation d'origine contrôlée rules make some kind of sense when they prevent what might otherwise amount to false advertising because the geographic name is so intertwined with the product. 

It does seem to be getting a bit out of hand.

The European Commission recently granted exclusive use of the term 'halloumi' within Europe to cheesemakers from Cyprus, using the intellectual property rights system called "geographical indications".

The move to register halloumi follows behind the recent registrations of cheeses like havarti.


In its Free Trade Agreement negotations with New Zealand, the EU is looking protect 2200 of its food and beverage GI's, including well known cheeses such as feta, gruyere and gorgonzola.

What other name are you supposed to give those cheese styles? Will somebody wind up deciding that nobody can use the word cheddar unless the cheese comes from a small village in Somerset

I suppose Kiwi cheesemakers could start just adding NZ to all the names, so we'd have halloumiNZ, havartiNZ, fetaNZ, and gruyeNZ. 

Maybe we could claim gorgoNZola as our own unless the Italians start referring to their own product as Chinese Gooseberry rather than Kiwifruit? It seems a lot more likely that someone would mistake something labelled Kiwifruit as being from NZ than that someone would mistake a local feta as really being from wherever the Europeans think feta is from. I have no clue where any of those cheeses are meant to be from, and I bet you don't either unless you google it. 

What a ridiculous system. 

"You can't call yourselves hip-hop artists unless you were born and trained in the hip-hop region of America. You have to call yourself something else. Oh, and K-pop has to change its name too because everyone knows pop music only comes from the 3 square block pop region of Los Angeles and it could be confusing to complete fricking idiots. But whatever they change their name to, nobody else in the world can ever use that name either. Only artists from Gangnam. We're going to have infinite numbers of names for each thing in the world, and it will be great."

I hate that accepting this nonsense seems required if NZ wants to be able to export to Europe. 

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