Food Law Digest – 3rd Edition – 2015

By Amy Cowper, Maria-Paz Martens, Nicolas Carbonnelle, Andrea Jarolímková, Linda Brugioni, Diana Sendagorta, Ning-Ning Li, Mark Abell


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

In this edition we report on some interesting cases in Europe at the national and European level concerning both intellectual property and regulatory issues including trade mark protection for 3D shapes, labelling and health and nutrition claims. From Australia, we report on the highly debated subject of marketing and advertising of food to children and how companies can ensure that they meet their regulatory obligations. Finally, we also provide a summary report on the first UK Food and Drink Forum held in London in June which we organised with support from Barclays Bank and Grant Thornton and proved to be a great success.

We hope you will enjoy reading this selection of interesting and informative articles. We welcome questions, comments and suggestions, so feel free to get in touch should you have any.

Mark Abell
Head of the Food & Beverage Group


Eleanor Root
Editor, Associate


Marketing and Advertising Food to Children in Australia

By Amy Cowper, Australia

Marketing to children is often the subject of great debate, particularly in the food and beverage sectors where a number of companies have come under substantial scrutiny in Australia for allegedly contributing to the obesity "epidemic". According to the Australian Department of Health, approximately 1 in 4 Australian children aged 7-15 are to be considered overweight or obese, and, as such, per capita, Australia has one of the highest rates of childhood obesity in the world. Research has shown that food promotion affects food purchases and influences food choices at category and brand level. 

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Casting a legal shadow on the Oktoberfest - Can one claim that a beer is "digestible" without infringing Nutrition and Health Claims Regulations? 

By Nicolas Carbonnelle, Brussels

A decision rendered by the German Landgericht Ravensburg on 25 August 2015 has ruled that making claims about the digestibility of a beer is contrary to the nutrition and health claims regulations.

The case was brought before the German courts following a complaint lodged against a brewer by the Verband Sozialer Wettbewerb ("VSW"), a private competition association based in Berlin. The complaint was based on the existence of alleged unfair commercial practice and alleged unfair competition.

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Are sports foods en route to normality?

By Maria-Paz Martens and Nicolas Carbonnelle, Brussels

On 24 September 2015, the EFSA adopted a technical report titled "Scientific and technical assistance on food intended for sportspeople". This report suggests that "sports foods" be considered the same as "normal foods", supporting the view that health claims and its related legislation are sufficient to regulate food for sports people under general food law and thereby potentially bringing an end to the more than two-decade long debate on whether specific legislation for "sports foods" on an EU level are required.

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CJEU preliminary ruling on 3D shape marks – the Kit Kat chocolate bar case continues

By Ning-Ning Li, UK

The CJEU has delivered its ruling on questions referred to it from the English High Court concerning the registrability of the 3D shape of a Kit Kat chocolate bar (Société des Produits Nestlé v Cadbury UK Ltd, C-215/14).

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Czech Republic

"Czech Republic raises the red flag on labelling"

By Andrea Jarolimkova, Czech Republic


One of the largest retail chains in the Czech Republic, Kaufland, has lost its appeal before the Regional Court in Ostrava in relation to designation of foreign products with Czech flags.

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The strange case of the protection of Piadina Romagnola PGI

By Linda Brugioni, Italy

With the fading memories of summer days spent at the seaside, this article will focus on the protection of Piadina Romagnola as a PGI. This is a flat bread made of dough produced in the area around the Italian Adriatic coast of the Romagna Riviera and a popular summer snack. The PGI protection for “Piadina Romagnola” was not easily achieved. It was filed in 2011 but only registered on 24 October 2014.

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Spain: New legislation for food quality protection

By Diana Sendagorta, Spain 

Spain has just enacted Law 28/2015 of 30 July 2015 for Food Quality Protection (SFQP). The SFQP was enacted to provide basic legislation on food quality protection, including the corresponding sanctioning regime arising out of art.55 of Regulation 882/2004.

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Bird & Bird team up with Barclays and Grant Thornton for Food & Drink Forum 

By Mark Abell, UK

On 16 June 2015 the Bird & Bird Food & Beverage sector group organised and co-sponsored with Barclays Bank and accountants Grant Thornton the first UK Food & Drink Forum in London. It was attended by around one hundred members of senior management from a wide spectrum of Food and Beverage companies ranging from producers and agro science companies, through suppliers and processors to retailers and restaurants. The event was chaired by Adam Leyland, editor of The Grocer, the sector's leading trade magazine in the UK and comprised speakers from a range of Food & Beverage companies.

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Andrea Jarolimkova

Andrea Jarolímková

Associate, Prague
Czech Republic & Slovakia

Call me on: +420 226 030 500

Diana Sendagorta

Senior Consultant

Call me on: +34 91 790 6000