Welcome to our blog for Intellectual Property Law and Practice in Latin America!
¡Bienvenidos a nuestro blog de Derecho y Práctica de la Propiedad Intelectual en Latinoamérica!
Bem-vindo ao nosso blog sobre Direito e Prática de Propriedade Intelectual na América Latina!

Friday 2 March 2018

Patricia Covarrubia

Mexico: it’s all about the cheese!

    No comments:

Since May 2016 the EU and Mexico are trying to modernize the trade agreement between them. By January 2018, there has been eight round of talks/negotiations.

On of the key issues that we see in the negotiation is Geographical Indications (GI). There is no possibility of registering foreign GI in Mexico although Appellations of Origins (AO) are feasible. Therefore, if a foreign company would like to protect their GI it can do so by the multilateral international registration i.e. Lisbon Agreement (Mexico is a member). The other route was by the bilateral agreement but this is limited to spirits and yet again only for AO. A foreign company could also register its GI as a ‘collective trade mark’.

The GI table of negotiation
There are in excess of 330 EU products in the list of negotiation, and this includes the sensitive product cheese. This is so because Mexico’s dairy industry produces many cheeses which names, or better say, GI names, originate from EU terroir.

On one hand, the EU claims their exclusive right to use such names, while on the other, Mexico claims that they have the right to keep producing such products. This is based on the fact that the names have become either generic or even acknowledging a different cheese that has become very much a national product and yet using a GI name. An example in mind would be the ‘Queso Manchego’, a cheese product coming from La Mancha region, Spain. According to its Dossier No ES/PDO/0117/0087 and the EU Commission implementing Regulation No 129/2012 of 13 February 2012, ‘Queso Manchego’ is “[p]ressed cheese made from milk of ewes of the ‘Manchega’ breed, aged for a minimum of 30 days for cheeses weighing up to 1, 5 kg and from 60 days up to a maximum of 2 years for larger cheeses.” The Mexican version is made from cow’s milk and so, the Mexican counterparts claim that the Manchego cheese “is ingrained in local culture and does not even resemble the Spanish original.” Moreover, the head of the National Chamber of Dairy Industries claims that “people identify it as a very national product that isn’t even related to the European version”; “people don’t expect a Spanish Manchego when they go to the supermarket and ask for a Manchego.”

Say 'Cheese'.
Next meeting would be in Brussels. The EU sees the latest talks as ‘very good’. Table of negotiations already closed are: competition, SMEs, transparency, sanitary issues, good regulatory practices, and trade and sustainable development. Pending are: market access and rules, including geographical indications and investment protection. The EU is Mexico’s third trading partner. Since 2000, the EU and Mexico trade in goods has increased by 180% which amounted to €53 billion in 2015. (source: here)

The proposed chapter on IP by the EU is available here.

Patricia Covarrubia

Patricia Covarrubia