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NMPF Sponsors CCFN seminar

July 6, 2016

NMPF sponsored the Consortium for Common Food Names seminar on protecting the right of food companies to continue using their products’ names, held June 21 in Chicago, Ill.  The meeting sharped the focus across the food industry of the threats posed by European efforts to restrict the use of food names important to U.S. food producers.

The Consortium is an international alliance, founded by NMPF and the U.S. Dairy Export Council, dedicated to preserving marketers’ rights to the use of generic food names. The organization’s role has become more crucial lately, as negotiations continue over the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the U.S. and the European Union. The U.S. dairy industry is deeply concerned with the EU’s desire to extend the application of geographical indications to restrict certain food names exclusively for products made in European nations.

More than 70 food company representatives, intellectual property attorneys and others attended the day-long seminar, where speakers and panelists discussed ways to protect the threatened names, including seeking guidance from CCFN. The event also included sessions with officials in the Department of Commerce's U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

The Consortium advised U.S. food and beverage companies on how to preserve the use of common meat, cheese, and wine terms long considered generic in the United States. The visiting USPTO officials raised awareness of the problem of overprotection of geographical indications in U.S. export markets and how this protection might impact the use of common food names.