In a move with implications for U.S. cheese producers, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) recently released its annual Special 301 Report on the state of intellectual property (IP) rights around the world. The report highlighted the “negative market access effects of the approach of the European Union (EU) to the protection of geographical indications (GIs) in the EU and third-country markets on U.S. producers and traders, particularly those with prior trademark rights or who rely on the use of common names.”
The report emphasized that “EU agricultural producers exporting to the United States are doing quite well, benefiting considerably from effective trademark protection, in the absence of an EU-style GI system.” Last year, the EU exported over $1 billion of cheese to the United States while the United States exported only about $5 million of cheese to the EU.
“This report accurately defines the EU’s aggressive agenda to displace U.S. cheese exports in third-country markets under the guise of geographical indications,” said Beth Hughes, IDFA senior director of international affairs. “USTR is fully engaged on this issue and we applaud their proactive efforts to ensure U.S. cheese companies can continue to use common cheese names around the world.”
View the report and USTR’s press release.
Members with questions may contact Hughes at firstname.lastname@example.org.