#USA #Agriculture #LocalFood
Farm abandonment is a major problem in the US, with a report released last week by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) noting that the country lost approximately 8,000 farms between 2015 and 2016. At the same time, the average farm size has increased, pointing to the decline of small, family-owned farms. For more information, see http://www.wisfarmer.com/story/news/2017/02/22/survey-us-loses-8000-farms-and-million-acres-farmland/98240874/
In this context, the USDA is taking several initiatives to counter farm abandonment, including supporting initiatives to further promote local food and small farmers (let’s recall here that local food is experiencing an interesting growth in the US: in 2015, 167,000 American farms sold food through direct marketing practices, resulting in $8.7 billion in revenue). As an example of such initiatives, the Texas Center for Local Food in Elgin (Texas), along with 13 other local communities, recently received USDA funding to promote rural development by better connecting small farms to supermarkets and restaurants. More information @ https://www.texasobserver.org/local-food-texas/
GIs can be a powerful tool to promote inclusive development in rural areas. In this context, oriGIn initiatives in the US will continue in 2017, with the oriGIn US-based representative starting its work later in March.
In January, the United States Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) issued a decision in favour of “Consejo Regulador del Tequila” (CRT) in the case Luxco, Inc. v.Consejo Regulador del Tequila, A.C. (Opposition No. 91190827). The CRT had applied at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for the certification mark “Tequila” for “distilled spirits, namely, spirits distilled from the blue tequilana weber variety of agave plant”. The registration was opposed by the American company Luxco – a distilled spirits supplier, importing and bottling alcoholic beverages, including Tequila – on the grounds that: “Tequila” is a generic term in the U.S. for a type of distilled spirits; the CRT lacked legitimate control on the use of the term; and CRT’s application contained fraudulent statements on the distinctiveness of the term “Tequila”.
The TTAB found that Luxco failed to prove its claims and dismissed the opposition. In particular, with respect to the alleged generic nature of the term, it found that “Tequila” does not refer to a generic liquor, but rather to a blue agave distilled spirit from Mexico. To assess this, the TTAB reviewed dictionary definition of “Tequila”, encyclopaedia and websites references, expert reports, advertising and labels, recipes, articles and consumers surveys. The fact that the Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) of the U.S. Department of Treasury had classified “Tequila” as a distinctive product of Mexico and prohibited the labelling of bottles as Tequila if the product was not manufactured in Mexico in compliance with Mexican laws, was also taken into account in the reasoning. The TTAB also found that the CRT has been exercising legitimate control on the use of the term “Tequila” by third parties.
The CRT can now register “Tequila” as a certification mark in the US, which still doesn’t have a specific system to protect GIs. To find out how to register certification marks in the US, see pages 23-40 of our publications on GIs in the US
Origo 2017 Geographical Indications’ Global Forum – a forum dedicated to the global challenges and opportunities of the European Union’s Geographical Indications’ system – will be held in Parma on 11, 12 and 13 April 2017. This first 2017 edition of Origo has been developed in partnership with Cibus Connect, the major international food fair of Fiere di Parma, specifically dedicated, this year, to the promotion of B2B relations with international top buyers. You can find the programme for the event, the participation procedures and any logistics information on the website: www.origoglobalforum.com
Let us know if you will participate in this Forum (by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org before 13 March 2017). oriGIn will attend the event and organise joint initiatives with its members to bring our perspective on the major current global challenges for GIs. The Forum is open also to non-European GIs.