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U.S. Patent & Trademark Office Bolsters Protection of Common Food Names

CONTACTS:

Shawna Morris, CCFN: (703) 528-4818

Luke Waring, USDEC: (703) 528-3049

Alan Bjerga, NMPF: (703) 243-6111

Michael Schumpp, NAMI: (202) 587-4251

Amanda Culp, NASDA: (202) 296-9680

Paul Schlegel, AFBF: (202) 406-3600

ARLINGTON, VA - The Consortium for Common Food Names (CCFN), U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC), National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), North American Meat Institute (NAMI), National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) and American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) commend the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for a new examination guide published on Friday that will help ensure that generic terms are given adequate consideration and protection.

The new improvements are contained within an examination procedure that guides USPTO trademark examining attorneys to inform their review of applications. The revision significantly clarifies and improves review procedures for certain trademarks related to cheese or meat names, creating a more consistent process that will protect the interests of manufacturers, farmers and consumers of common food terms such as parmesan and bologna.

"The U.S. remains the preeminent leader on intellectual property (IP) rights and, given the critical importance of safeguarding the rights of consumers and other stakeholders in a balanced IP system, sets a global example for a system that fairly protects truly distinctive products and common name goods alike. This recent step further deepens U.S. leadership in this arena," said CCFN Executive Director Jaime Castaneda.

Dairy Industry Logos

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The U.S. Dairy Export Council is a non-profit, independent membership organization that represents the global trade interests of U.S. dairy producers, proprietary processors and cooperatives, ingredient suppliers and export traders. Its mission is to enhance U.S. global competitiveness and assist the U.S. industry to increase its global dairy ingredient sales and exports of U.S. dairy products. USDEC accomplishes this through programs in market development that build global demand for U.S. dairy products, resolve market access barriers and advance industry trade policy goals. USDEC is supported by staff across the United States and overseas in Mexico, South America, Asia, Middle East and Europe. The U.S. Dairy Export Council prohibits discrimination on the basis of age, disability, national origin, race, color, religion, creed, gender, sexual orientation, political beliefs, marital status, military status, and arrest or conviction record. www.usdec.org.

The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), based in Arlington, Va., develops and carries out policies that advance the well-being of U.S. dairy producers and the cooperatives they collectively own. The members of NMPF's cooperatives produce the majority of the U.S, milk supply, making NMPF the voice of nearly 32,000 dairy producers on Capitol Hill and with government agencies. For more on NMPF's activities, visit www.nmpf.org.

The Consortium for Common Food Names (CCFN) is an independent, international non-profit alliance whose goal is to work with leaders in agriculture, trade and intellectual property rights to foster the adoption of high standards and model geographical indication guidelines throughout the world. Those interested in joining can find information at www.CommonFoodNames.com.

NAMI is a national trade association that represents companies that process 95 percent of red meat and 70 percent of turkey products in the US and their suppliers throughout America.

The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture was founded in 1916. NASDA is a nonpartisan, nonprofit association which represents the elected and appointed commissioners, secretaries, and directors of the departments of agriculture in all fifty states and four U.S. territories.

NASDA grows and enhances agriculture by forging partnerships and creating consensus to achieve sound policy outcomes between state departments of agriculture, the federal government, and stakeholders.

Farm Bureau is an independent, non-governmental, voluntary organization governed by and representing farm and ranch families united for the purpose of analyzing their problems and formulating action to achieve educational improvement, economic opportunity and social advancement and, thereby, to promote the national well-being. Farm Bureau is local, county, state, national and international in its scope and influence and is non-partisan, non-sectarian and non-secret in character. Farm Bureau is the voice of agricultural producers at all levels.