Luxembourg (dpa) – The taste of a food can not be protected according to a ruling by the European court of justice is subject to copyright. Taste cannot be used as a “plant”, stated the judges (case C 310/17). This is for the protection of copyright is, however, necessary.

the Background is a dispute over fresh cheese in the Netherlands. The manufacturer Levola held his “Heksenkaas” for unique – to the competitor Smilde 2014, “Witte Wievenkaas” on the market, the tastes in the view of Levola in the same way. The company saw this as a violation of his rights to the taste of the cream cheese and called on its competitors, production and sale of the “Witte Wievenkaas”. The competent Dutch court asked the ECJ whether the taste according to EU-law can be protected by copyright.

The judge emphasised that the protection of copyright forms to the right “to expression and not to ideas, procedures, working methods, or mathematical concepts,” the first track. The classification as a “work” demand an own intellectual creation.

food do not meet these criteria, according to the Luxembourg judges. Unlike literature, art, movies, or music taste can not be judged precisely and objectively. The sense of taste of a person is subjective and depends also on the age or habits, it said. Also, he could change. In the particular case, must decide according to the judgment of the EU court now, the court in the Netherlands.

“were The Revolution. So tastes are different, as you know, so they can according to the judgment of the ECJ monopolize,” said copyright attorney Daniel Kendziur about the judgment. In contrast, the Name of a food, where appropriate, to be protected by law or preparation of patent law.

The Berlin-based lawyer for food law, Heike Blank, points out: “With its judgment, the ECJ, the industry has not spared also the practical difficulty that the flavor is accurately and objectively identifiable.”



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Teodora Torrendo is an investigative journalist and is a correspondent for European Union. She is based in Zurich in Switzerland and her field of work include covering human rights violations which take place in the various countries in and outside Europe. She also reports about the political situation in European Union. She has worked with some reputed companies in Europe and is currently contributing to USA News as a freelance journalist. As someone who has a Masters’ degree in Human Rights she also delivers lectures on Intercultural Management to students of Human Rights. She is also an authority on the Arab world politics and their diversity.


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