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30 - Innovating Food, Innovating the Law - David Lametti


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Piacenza, October 15, 2011
"Innovating Food, Innovating the Law"

DAVID LAMETTI (McGill University, Canada),
Trademarks and beyond


Published in: Education, Technology, Business
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30 - Innovating Food, Innovating the Law - David Lametti

  1. 1. David Lametti McGill University The terror of terroir
  2. 2. Caveats <ul><li>Not a food law person as such </li></ul><ul><li>Rather, an IP-property theorist </li></ul><ul><li>Work is informed by an Aristotelean view of virtue, so-called “virtue ethics” </li></ul><ul><li>More concerned with “ought” than “is” </li></ul>
  3. 3. TMs, CMs, GIs <ul><li>Ethical boundaries for these? </li></ul><ul><li>Current work with Matteo Ferrari and Pierre-Emmanuel Moyse on the relationship of geography to innovation </li></ul><ul><li>My role: is to remind of the ethical dimensions of what is at stake </li></ul>
  4. 4. Animating Scepticism <ul><li>The relation between IP and innovation is tenuous, if not completely fallacious </li></ul>
  5. 5. And so to terroir , food
  6. 6. Terroir <ul><li>What is unique about a geographical link to a product and/or its quality </li></ul>
  7. 7. Luxury Items
  8. 8. Geographic Qualities <ul><li>Sun, soil, wind, water </li></ul><ul><li>And their impact on crops, etc. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Human Intervention <ul><li>(Traditional) Methods </li></ul><ul><li>For curing Parma ham </li></ul><ul><li>For making Champagne </li></ul><ul><li>For making Amarone or ripasso </li></ul>
  10. 10. Terroir … <ul><li>A combination of both unique geographical qualities and and human intervention/methods </li></ul>
  11. 11. How to protect terroir <ul><li>TM: protects the goodwill by protecting the distinctiveness of mark, symbol, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>- probably insufficient to protect terroir </li></ul><ul><li>Passing Off – ‘Extended’ Passing Off </li></ul><ul><ul><li>a common law doctrine that goes to good will in a type of product </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. How to protect (2) <ul><li>Certification Marks </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Third party registers a mark for use by those who meet the standard </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Common for wines, etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Often national bodies or producer organizations </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. How to protect (3) <ul><li>Geographical Indicators </li></ul><ul><ul><li>More robust cousin of Cert Marks </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Extra-national (EU, TRIPS) norms: quality, reputation </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. GIs (from Matteo Ferrari) <ul><li>Art. 22.1 TRIPS: geographical indications are indications which 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 geographical origin </li></ul><ul><li>Europe: reg. 510/2006: </li></ul><ul><li>- designations of origin: strong relation between food and terroir (quality exclusively or essentially due to origin) </li></ul><ul><li>- geographical indications: weaker relation between food and terroir (references to one specific quality and reputation) </li></ul>
  15. 15. GIs <ul><li>Have a community-oriented dimension, a form of collective property: tradition </li></ul><ul><li>Confers status, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>As GIs are not owned by a specific subject; GIs cannot be sold; they cannot be given as securities (as is case with TMs and CMs) </li></ul>
  16. 16. How to protect (4) <ul><li>Private certification bodies </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Now common </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cf Matteo Ferrari’s presentation at this conference </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Especially as regards quality: they transmit and guarantee this quality </li></ul></ul>
  17. 17. Scope? <ul><li>Particularly in relation to a diaspora </li></ul><ul><li>Or simply migration of peoples </li></ul><ul><ul><li>People bring traditions, plants, animals </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Often to hospitable climates (often that is the point of immigrating) </li></ul></ul>
  18. 18. Terroir <ul><li>Can it limit these other groups from producing (luxury) products according to traditional methods, bring products to market? </li></ul><ul><li>It is really the human element, I suppose. </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>-same method applied to different raw materials </li></ul></ul></ul>
  19. 19. And so, can we prevent… <ul><li>A baked flat dough from being called a “pizza”? </li></ul><ul><li>A cheese made with sheep’s milk from being called “pecorino”? </li></ul><ul><li>A cured ham from being called “prosciutto” … “speck” … “Parma ham”? </li></ul>
  20. 20. Market “rights” <ul><li>The ability to produce a product, participate in a market, and name one’s product in an accurate (most accurate?) and efficient (most efficient?) manner </li></ul><ul><li>Efficiency = reducing consumer search costs </li></ul>
  21. 21. If we go to far … <ul><li>terroir becomes a terror. </li></ul>
  22. 22. To some extent, a new problem <ul><li>Why? It is with supra-national bodies (EU, TRIPS) that the potential scope for CMs and GIs, and private bodies reach across borders, oceans, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Moves with international trade </li></ul><ul><li>So how far should these principles extend? </li></ul>
  23. 23. To generic or descriptive terms? <ul><li>Generic: If a term becomes the product itself </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Champagne is close, though “sparkling wine” still suffices </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Parmesan cheese? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mozzarella? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mozzarella di bufala? </li></ul></ul>
  24. 24. Generic or descriptive terms <ul><li>Descriptive </li></ul><ul><li>Cepages: Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet, Sangiovese, Reisling </li></ul><ul><li>versus classic blends of these: Chianti, St-Émilion </li></ul>
  25. 25. Confusion <ul><li>A time-worn concept in this area </li></ul><ul><li>Not a perfect concept, but does a great deal of work </li></ul>
  26. 26. Use of qualifiers? <ul><li>“ - style”, “-method” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Parma -style ” ham, “champagne- method ”, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>(or the contrary: Parmigiano Reggiano ) </li></ul><ul><li>Can work in certain conditions </li></ul>
  27. 27. Consumer <ul><li>How intelligent? </li></ul><ul><li>Cdn champagne case: no consumer would possibly confuse! </li></ul><ul><li>Anne Bartow: if male-targeted product, consumer deemed to be intelligent </li></ul>
  28. 28. Dilution-Diminishment-Tarnishing <ul><li>A potentially separate standard for famous marks, that might be applied here too </li></ul><ul><li>Famous marks often high-quality </li></ul><ul><li>Fraught with difficulties (how distinct from confusion?) </li></ul>
  29. 29. Consumers <ul><li>Are better equipped than we think </li></ul><ul><li>Are capable of reading labels! </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Think of ingrediants </li></ul></ul>
  30. 30. Ironically, the imprimatur <ul><li>Helps restrict reach </li></ul><ul><li>As the marks/ GIs/ standards become more well-known, the consumer gets to now them and is less likely to ever be confused </li></ul>
  31. 31. Old world –New world <ul><li>New world competition escapes domestic regulations regarding quality in the old world </li></ul>
  32. 32. Old world – new world <ul><li>Need to be careful about how foods get transferred over history </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Pasta </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Pizza </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Rice </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Beans </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Maize </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>grains </li></ul></ul>
  33. 33. From the sublime … <ul><li>Chianti </li></ul><ul><li>Amarone </li></ul><ul><li>Parma Ham </li></ul>
  34. 34. … to the ridiculous <ul><li>Pasta </li></ul><ul><li>Pizza </li></ul><ul><li>Polenta </li></ul>
  35. 35. In the end <ul><li>Confusion is a workable standard to prevent overreach; use of official standards themselves transmits information so well to consumers that competing products will be seen as inferior </li></ul><ul><li>Ironically, no need to ban the “competitors”, provided they make no false claims, not confusing </li></ul>
  36. 36. Quality <ul><li>Will always win out in the end </li></ul><ul><li>The real relation is between terroir and quality </li></ul><ul><li>To some extent GIs will help identify quality, but can’t replace quality </li></ul>
  37. 37. Focus (for agro-food industry) <ul><li>Quality (tradition, terroir ) </li></ul><ul><li>No terror here! </li></ul>
  38. 38. Grazie <ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul>