The humble pasty may be under threat after the successful Brexit vote on 23 June 2016.
The Cornish Pasty along with 73 other British foods have protection under the EU Protected Foods Act. This Act offers producers the ability to protect their goods often related to the quality and the region of production by giving them what is known as Protected Geographical Indication status (PGI).
Some other well-known British examples are Welsh Lamb, Single Gloucester Cheese and Scotch Whisky. The protection afforded is not only beneficial for the public who know the quality of what they are purchasing, but also the producers themselves who are able to market their goods of a certain quality originating from a particular region.
This framework often generates significant income for rural or regional areas by the protection and promotion of local foods. Using the Cornish Pasty as an example, the Cornish Pasty Association states that the scheme generates £300 million of trade per annum. Without this protection, the pasty could be copied and this income lost. Unless the UK government enacts legislation to afford protection once the UK officially leaves the EU, the Cornish Pasty will lose its current protection.
What does this mean for the South West loving pasty eater?It means if there is no protection anyone can make a pasty claiming it to be a Cornish Pasty
If you are like me, and love a good Cornish Pasty, it may be wise to get your fill of pasties now to ensure you really know what you are eating.
How can learn from this example in relation to Trade Marks?
Protected Geographical Indicators (to which the Cornish Pasty derives its protection) are a specialised form of trade mark that sit outside the current trade mark registration system. However, just as PGI’s offer a protection and income, so too does registering your trade mark / logo attached to your business. Without registering your trade mark you are not protected from others using your trading name (save for the expensive and lengthy court system, known as passing off). Worse still if you are using a name that infringes on another proprietor’s trade mark you may be sued for damages and loss of income by that trader.
(New Zealand Qualified)