Bird & Bird's Food & Beverage Group is delighted to present the first edition of the Food Law Digest in 2015.

In this edition, we report on developments on the EU Trade Secrets Directive and how the food and beverage sector should be preparing for its implementation. We also provide an update on the UK Government's announcement on plain packaging legislation and proposed changes to Australian country of origin labelling laws.

Mark Abell
Head of the Food & Beverage Group


Not too hot, not too cold, but just right? Food and beverage companies and the imminent EU Trade Secrets Directive.

Warren Wayne, Rob Williams, London

In the coming weeks, the European Parliament will pass a Europe-wide Trade Secrets Directive (the "Directive"). Within two years, all 28 member states of the EU will pass laws implementing the Directive, significantly altering the European approach to protecting sensitive business information. Many organisations are now planning to exploit the opportunities it creates. Read more > 

CJEU strictly construes legal requirement for inclusion of non-organic foodstuffs in organic products.

Maria-Paz Martens, Nicolas Carbonnelle, Brussels

The Court of Justice has held that Article 27(1)(f) of Regulation No. 889/2008 must be interpreted as meaning that "legally required" substances which can be used in the processing of organic food, did not encompass food supplements, bearing a nutrition or health claim or foodstuffs used for a particular nutritional use, even though that in order to comply with the provisions governing the incorporation of substances into foodstuffs, such products must contain a determined quantity of the substance in question. Read more >


Proposed changes to Australian country of origin labelling laws: clearing customer confusion, but at what cost to trade?

Amy Cowper, Kathryn Edghill, Sydney

Proposed changes to Australian country of origin labelling laws may have significant implications for those non-Australian manufacturers and food producers that wish to export food products to Australia. Read more >

Further changes proposed to Australian Country of Origin Labelling Laws in light of Hepatitis A outbreak

Amy Cowper, Kathryn Edghill, Sydney

A recent outbreak of Hepatitis A in Australia has been linked to a brand of imported frozen berries which has placed a greater urgency on clearer Country of Origin Labelling in Australia. Read more >

Czech Republic

Lobkowicz beer expanding in China

Andrea Jarolímková, Prague

Lobkowicz, the fifth biggest brewery group in the Czech Republic, has expanded into China in October 2014. This very first Czech mini-brewery was established in China in cooperation with Steven Cang, a Chinese citizen who fell in love with Czech beer during his stay in the Czech Republic. Read more >


Using Champagne as an ingredient does not necessarily confer the right to use Champagne in the commercial name of the product

Rebecca Delorey, Vincent Robert-Kerne, Paris

"Remember, gentlemen, it’s not just France we are fighting for, it’s Champagne!" 
Sir Winston Churchill.

Champagne is certainly one of France’s most valuable contributions to gastronomy. Since 1936 it has enjoyed protected status of Designation of Origin (Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée). Read more >


Guidelines on the correct indication of a geographical name covering a territory of production of PDO or PGI wine

Linda Brugioni, Milan

The Italian Ministry of Agricultural and Forest Policies has recently issued guidelines on the indication of geographical names, as names of regions, covering a broad territory including the place of production of a Protected Designation of Origin ("PDO") or Protected Geographical Indication ("PGI") wine. Read more >

A pint of Prosecco? No, thank you!

Linda Brugioni, Milan

How to celebrate Christmas parties and the New Year without a traditional toast with bubbles? That is - perhaps - the reason why last autumn several pubs in the UK started to offer to their customers the chance to switch from the usual pint of beer to a "pint" of sparkling wine on tap, with the labelling "Prosecco". Read more >


Changes to act on export insurance backed by the state treasury

Krzysztof Korwin-Kossakowski, Warsaw

To increase national exports and protect businesses many countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Brazil, France and Germany have established agencies which act as intermediaries between the government and exporters in issuing export financing in the form of state backed insurance. Read more >

Polish M&A market to catch up with the global trends

Krzysztof Korwin-Kossakowski, Warsaw

A recent study conducted by Richard Hall, Chairman of Zenith International (a company specializing in consulting the food and beverage sector) shows that 2014 was a peak year globally for M&A transactions in the food and beverage sector. Read more >


Tesco appeals fines imposed by Slovak Authorities

Katarína Bujňáková, Bratislava

In January 2015 the Slovak media notified the public of a large penalty, imposed by the State Veterinary and Food Administration of the Slovak Republic on the grocery and general merchandise retailer TESCO STORES SR, as ("Tesco"). The record penalty representing the amount of €1 million has been imposed as a result of repeated infringements by Tesco of obligations under the Slovak Act No. 152/1995 Coll. on Foodstuffs. Read more >

The Netherlands

The sun sets on Capri Sun's shape mark

Nina Dorenbosch, Manon Rieger-Jansen, The Hague

Capri Sun markets juice concentrated drinks which are sold in laminated foil pouches. Capri Sun has an international trade mark for the shape of the pouches, which is inter alia designated for the Benelux. In 2014, the shape mark was subject of dispute in two Dutch cases. Read more >


The High Court whips up a design rights treat

James Ball, London

Shortly before Christmas, the High Court handed down its judgment on a case relating to the design of ice cream vans. Arnold J found that the Defendants had infringed Whitby Specialist Vehicles Ltd's ("Whitby") UK registered and unregistered design rights and that the second and third Defendants (brothers, Amer and Omar Rubani) had also infringed the Claimant's trade mark "WHITBY MORRISON"Read more >

Creme eggs: is Cadbury setting a good example?

Rachel O'Brien, London

On 12 January 2015 Cadbury announced, its controversial decision to alter the UK's favourite Easter treat – the Creme Egg. Not only has Cadbury replaced the existing Dairy Milk chocolate with traditional Cadbury milk chocolate, they have also reduced the traditional six-pack to a five-pack – the combination of which has left consumers shell-shocked. Read more >

UK Parliament set to vote on introducing plain packing for tobacco products

Katharine Stephens, Toby Bond, London

Following a recent Government announcement plain packaging legislation now looks set to be introduced in the UK. However, big questions still remain about how the Government will tackle the thorny issue of compensating the affected brand owners for depriving them of their IP. Read more >