Sir; The latest development in the Melton Mowbray pork pie case (The Grocer, March 18, p11) has highlighted the importance of Protected Geographical Indication and Protected Designation of Origin, the aim of the designations.
The important issue in the current Melton Mowbray case is the width of the specified geographical area. This wide area (Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire and parts of Northamptonshire and Lincolnshire) benefits all members of the Melton Mowbray Pork Pie Association, but not Northern Foods, which manufactures outside it.
As well as this point of law, which will now be decided by the European Court of Justice, this case highlights the commercial importance of PGIs and PDOs and the rights created by them. Potential markets are lucrative and an important advantage for those producers granted a PGI is the creation of an intellectual property right.
Those within the PGI's ambit can describe their produce as originating from a particular area. Crucially, they can also assert the PGI against third parties, normally through their trade association.
The scope of protection granted is wide and the enforcement of it enables a proactive approach to market protection, as well as creating commercial difficulties for those excluded once the PGI has been granted.
from Neil Coulson, associate in intellectual property, Jones Day