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Food for Thought – Revisiting the Rationale of Law-Based Food Origin Protection

Sebastian Felix Schwemer

This contribution analyses the rationale for law-based food-origin protection and examines two distinct legal frameworks that both cover the question of where our food products come from – namely intellectual property rights regarding food origin and labelling laws. The article first provides a basic framework on the underlying economic theories on food labelling enriched by socio-economical evidence. In a second step, a broader overview on the legal regimes on food labelling in the U.S. and Europe is presented. Finally, the author suggests looking over the fence towards origin protection granted by intellectual property rights. While it is for future research to connect more of the dots between intellectual property law and food labelling, this article makes the intersection apparent that policy-makers should consider in the discussion of the sui generis protection for food origin under the wings of intellectual property and its parallel discussion in food law.


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