What is at stake?
American Origin Products are already famous in the U.S. and are among our best known products abroad. They create and sustain thousands of jobs in rural areas, keeping these economies going in regions that are often severely challenged by globalizing markets. In addition to all of this, these uniquely American agricultural products help maintain their regions’ cultural heritage and environment.
Presently in the US, the Trademark system is the only means available to farmers for recognizing and protecting their distinctive agricultural products. While potentially useful tools for protection and promotion, individual Trademarks are cost prohibitive for small and medium-sized producers. Trademark registration, compliance monitoring and renewal require a serious financial and time investment, not to mention a legal knowledge that lie outside expertise and scope of most Origin Product producers.
Furthermore, the Trademark system only protects the name of the Origin Product, saying nothing about the quality. failing to acknowledge the quality link to its place of production.
The AOPA is undertaking the development of its own network of Origin Product producers in order to address these issues. With a group unified, like-minded farmers facing the same issues of fraud, unfair competition and lack of recognition, the AOPA has the potential to solve its members’ problems collectively. The pooled resources of our members will allow us to: create an official list of American Origin Products, conduct promotional campaigns about the uniqueness and importance of these products, register a collective AOPA Trademark and label for our members’ products, implement a system of national monitoring etc…
Many other countries have their own systems in place for the protection and promotion of Origin Products.to preserve their most traditional and quality agrifood products, such as Champagne and Parmigiano Reggiano, boosting their economies and keeping jobs in their communities.
In order to protect and recognize America’s geographically distinctive products, even well established product names such as Napa Valley Wine, Vidalia Onion and Idaho Potato have had to wage fierce, expensive legal battles to protect their names against fraud in our own country – and in overseas trade. Furthermore, such a system will give a fighting chance to thousands of producers to promote and protect their American Origin Products, thereby preserving our country’s agricultural and culinary heritage.
How Does This Affect You?
Because of the risk of high litigation costs to protect their product name, AOP producers cannot afford to stand by and be complacent. We believe they need to organize themselves, become educated about the risk and act together to become the leading voice for how origin product names will be protected in trade negotiations that could greatly impact their future.
Many AOPs are already exported and many more could be with targeted assistance to get started. We believe that with proper recognition, support and protection, American Origin Products can strengthen and expand economic development across the nation. To win the support they need, we need your voice and participation.
What Can You Do to Help?
Take advantage of the resources on the aop-us.org website to learn more about American Origin Products in the U.S. They are a subset of the larger world of geographical indications (GIs)—origin products that exist in every country around the world. Visit the site of the international umbrella organization for GIs, the Organization for an International Geographical Indications Network, located at oriGIn-gi.com
But most importantly, talk to others in your organization and to your producer group board and encourage them to join the AOPA today! The membership information can be consulted below by clicking the 'invitation and application hyperlink.'
Lend your support and help the AOPA have a direct impact on the future of origin products in this country. Without your action, others will be determining your future for you.
Download our membership invitation and application