Laguiole cutlers are searching for a model to battle in opposition to counterfeits
The makers of the well-known French Laguiole steak knives are preventing for geographical indication standing, with a view to shield the model from poor high quality counterfeit copies from China and Pakistan.
Laguiole is a village in Aveyron, in Occitanie; and with the neighboring city of Thiers, is the birthplace of the Laguiole steak knife. Traditional Laguiole knives are sometimes “pocket knives” that fold up within the center, with a bee or insect on the again.
The phrase “laguiole” itself just isn’t but a trademark, which signifies that so-called “laguiole” knives have proliferated in recent times, utilizing poor high quality supplies and manufacturing processes.
This led the village to assert the official standing of “geographical indication (GI)”. This standing pertains to manufactured merchandise and signifies that solely merchandise manufactured in a sure space can profit from the GI standing as real merchandise.
The attraction is launched by the Aveyron industrialists who’ve filed the grievance with the Nationwide Institute of Industrial Property (INPI).
A public inquiry is anticipated to proceed till March 29, with the INPI having two months to rule.
Vincent Alazard, Mayor of Laguiole, instructed the newspaper good morning: “We’re writing a brand new web page within the historical past of this knife. It is unimaginable.”
Honoré Durand, grasp cutler and president of the union of seven cutlers from the village and its environment, instructed Agence France-Presse: “As we speak, customers need to determine the origin of merchandise, and we are attempting to reply their questions. wants. . “
A second name for the IG label needs to be filed in April, by the group of knives affiliation CLAA (Couteau Laguiole Aubrac Auvergne), which brings collectively many of the knife producers within the Thiers area, additionally included within the knife- make l historical past of Laguiole.
Seventh technology cutler Aubry Verdier stated: “We legitimately make Laguiole [products]. “
Thiers doesn’t need to be excluded from the IG label and sees itself as a part of the “terroir” wherein the knives are made, with many staff making Laguiole merchandise in Thiers, somewhat than within the village itself.
Mr Durand stated his union is assured that the IG label shall be granted.
He stated, “We imagine in it as a lot as we do energy in iron. There’s a excellent probability of success. It’s industrial property, and it is rather sturdy.
“If somebody copies the GI of the Laguiole knife, it will likely be a legal offense. That is now not a joke. The French state will defend its label.
Christian Valat, director of the Laguiole en Aubrac manufacturing facility, stated: “The most important drawback is that there are very giant portions – we can’t even depend them – of knives made in China and Pakistan, that are of the “Laguiole” model.
“These low-cost copies are flooding the market and endangering our producers, who depend on high quality.
“We won’t cease the fakes, however not less than we will determine [our own designs with the IG logo engraved on the blade] in order that when somebody buys a knife, he is aware of that it’s from Laguiole.
The biggest producer of knives within the village, La Forge de Laguiole, produces greater than 100,000 knives a yr, 60% of that are bought overseas, notably in Germany and the USA.
A Bapsite Drinks knife maker, Instructed good morning: “Our knives have to return from right here. This enables us to maintain our know-how. “
The time period “laguiole” has come to indicate a specific type of knife, somewhat than essentially that means that the knife was made in Laguiole itself, however village makers now insist that the knife, when made within the village, have to be acknowledged as its personal particular design which can’t be copied.
The wooden of the knives is from France, whereas the blade is product of metal. The traditional Laguiole design additionally options the form of a bee on the rear spring.
The origins of this bee are debated, with a narrative suggesting that it was “granted” by Emperor Napoleon I (as a bee was a logo he typically used) in recognition of the braveness of native troopers.
Nonetheless, the bee didn’t seem on Laguiole knives till after World Battle II, greater than 100 years after the emperor’s demise.
The insect design, which generally seems to be extra of a fly than a bee, might also come from the French phrase “mouche” (mouche), which refers back to the finish of the rear spring, above the rotating a part of the blade. .
Picture: Tim Chambers / CC BY-SA 2.5
Some older knives don’t characteristic a bee or a fly, and produce other designs as an alternative. As well as, some knives additionally embody a corkscrew built-in into the deal with.
Laguiole can also be recognized for its cheese of the identical identify, which has the standing of Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée.
This comes a yr after the village of Laguiole received a lawsuit in opposition to an entrepreneur from Val-de-Marne (Île-de-France) – Gilbert Szajner – who had registered the model identify “Laguiole” and allowed firms to make use of the identify on their knives, though the merchandise had not been made within the well-known French commune.
In March 2019, the Paris Court docket of Enchantment canceled the authorization for round twenty firms to make use of the identify “Laguiole”, which signifies that they have been now not approved to place the identify on their blades. knife, nor to make use of it in any advertising and marketing or literature.
The courtroom dominated that there was a threat “that the common shopper would imagine that these merchandise originated within the stated commune”, and that the observe constituted “fraud”.
The judges stated it was additionally a “technique to deprive the municipality and its directors of the usage of the identify Laguiole”.