Fake Feta: Digging into the Intellectual Property Details of the Canada – EU Trade Agreement

The Canadian government released a technical summary of the Canada – EU trade agreement (CETA) yesterday, which provides further details on the draft agreement (tabling a summary of the treaty is a strange exercise and the government needs to release the full text). Within the summary, there are some further details on the intellectual property issues that were not highlighted in the initial releases.

First, while the emphasis on cheese and the dairy industry has focused on increasing the amount of European cheese that can be sold in Canada, the agreement also contains some notable new restrictions on the sale and marketing of cheese in Canada more generally.  Under the umbrella of geographic indications protections, Canada has agreed to new limitations on several well known cheeses including asiago, feta, fontina, gorgonzola, and munster. Existing Canadian producers can continue to use these names, but that’s it – any future cheese makers will need to qualify the title by using words such as “imitation” or “style”. This is a significant concession that effectively gives rights to existing producers on what many consumers would view as generic names.

Second, the government has effectively agreed to pass anti-counterfeiting legislation, which was reintroduced as Bill C-8 (formerly Bill C-56) on Monday. The bill is on the fast-track as it received first and second reading and was immediately referred to committee. The committee will no doubt hear from many witnesses, but the government appears to have already agreed to pass the legislation largely unchanged. According to the detailed technical summary of the Canada – EU trade agreement (CETA), the treaty:

Includes provisions on civil remedies and border enforcement in line with Canada’s existing regime and federal Bill C-56, Combating Counterfeit Products Act

Third, the government may have committed to ratifying several other IP treaties, though it is unclear on the level of commitment. The summary states that:

CETA specifically mentions the Singapore Treaty on the Law of Trademarks, the Protocol Related to the Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks, and the Geneva Act of the Hague Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Industrial Designs

The summary does not state whether Canada is committed to enacting these treaties, but they were part of a policy laundering process earlier this year when the Standing Committee on Industry recommended their ratification despite the fact that no one actually raised the issue before the committee.

Fourth, the technical summary confirms that CETA will not require any Canadian copyright law changes on key issues, including copyright term and ISP liability. Those same issues may be pressure points on the current Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations.

Fifth, the summary provides the details on pharmaceutical patent reforms which were consistent with earlier releases (now with a further government spin).  These include rights of appeal reforms and patent term restoration for up to two years.


  1. A Liberal Thinker says:

    New Truly Canadian Cheese Opportunities
    What’s the problem? New producers will have a leg up with truly Canadian cheeses…asiEHgo, fEHta, fontinEH, gorgonzolEH and munstEHr…might want to add MoozarEHla and BriEH to that list and let’s not forget parmEHzan and holEH (formally Swiss 🙂 and Canadian curds and wEH !

  2. Who cares
    In this geography we only buy “WhatsOnSale” brand.

  3. pat donovan says:

    and the nortel patents are being used to (patent troll) google. submarine them, actually.

    so the concept of cheeze is bothering quebec?

    So. lemme see, rebranding… repositioning…

    adding root-kits for peripherals (wireless, lan cards, etc) additives, preservatives, color, etc.

    (Mostly illegal elsewhere in the world.) pesticides,
    estrogen, other gm side-effects

    natural foods banned.

    pap and side-issues in the bread and circuses
    society triumphant.

    At some point this isn’t even cheez anymore, right?



  4. Funny You Mention That, Pat….
    All of our comments on CBC calling the troll on patents for what it is are banned and gets our posting account suspended to boot! They seem to consider it a very, very grevious offense. Wonder what their involvement is?

    On to cheese… As one of european heritage, I cheered the decision. Cheap gouda sounds…. gouda…. to me 😉

  5. pat donovan says:

    Overlapping ops, witch-hunts, bread and cicuses… Worst of all, Big-bro by patronage contract looks designed to fail to me.

    Mushroom effect is primary. Keep them in the dark, feed them crap.

    Privacey, Evolution of Property, Freedom of info.

    Hello, Mc-renter. Who’s gonna win the cyber-wars, China or NSA? The sad news is, you aren’t even on the list yet and you control everything.

    Censored. Sterilied, sanitized and slanted news.

    from rights to interest.

    corporate interest, apparently.


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