“In the seminar on the Law of Geographical Indications, Quality Labeling and Certification we examine rules at the crossroads between Intellectual Property, consumer and health protection and market practices / laws against unfair competition.
These rules, which have been marked in recent years by a growing regulatory framework at E.U. level, are particularly relevant to foodstuffs and agricultural products. They are part of a controlled quality policy. Communication towards consumers is essential. Labels, indications and information on food products, on packaging or in advertising also constitute important marketing tools. They must be true and not misleading, but can also be subject to exclusive rights or conflict with traditional intellectual property rights.
The interplay between those interests and rights is the subject of the seminar. It gives students an overview of the general legal framework on certification and quality labeling. Those rules include amongst others:
- geographical indications and denominations of origin (see EU regulation 1152/2012 and comparable legislation for wines and spirits);
- collective and certification marks (see BCIP and CTM regulation);
- organic products (see EU regulation 834/2007);
- nutrition and health claims (see EU regulation 1924/2006);
- product (food) labeling:
- Directive 2000/13/EC on labeling, presentation and advertising;
- Regulation 1169/2011 on the provision of food information to consumers:
- Directive 2005/29 on unfair trade practices.
To prepare the seminar and illustrate the matter, students bring a typical product from their home country or region for which these rules on labeling are relevant (this may be a product with a protected GI, certification mark, specific quality labeling or claims, organic production, etc.). The students give a brief presentation about the typical aspects or reputation that deserve protection and the reason why the labeling regulations are relevant. Then, we discuss the legal aspects and taste the products …”