Re: POL: Reaction to Microsoft Ruling

From: Lee Daniel Crocker (
Date: Sat Apr 15 2000 - 15:52:15 MDT

> The point of difficulty is with whether place names
> like Champagne or Vermont are more well known as product types, or as
> geographic regions. If the more common definition is as a product type,
> then any geographic restrictions should not really hold.

For products that are primarily agricultural (wine and maple syrup are
good examples) geography _is_ part of the product quality, because no
two regions of Earth have the same soil, weather, and other conditions
that affect agricultural products. I can plant Vidalia onions
in my backyard, and even try to reduce the sulfur content of my soil
to that of Vidalia, but it will never quite be Vidalia soil, and the
onions just won't be real Vidalia onions. Ditto Vermont maple syrup,
Tequila, Bordeaux, and other products.

Of course the trademark laws go a little further than that in also
protecting localized products whose quality isn't based on local
soil: Kentucky Sour Mash Bourbon, for example, is usually made from
out of state grain, but Tennesee distillers who use the same grain
and the same process (like Jack Daniels) can't legally call their
product Kentucky Sour Mash if they didn't actually make it there.

(For the Bourbon drinkers out there I am _not_ arguing that Jack
Daniels is of similar quality to a good Kentucky Sour Mash, or even
to a mediocre one like Wild Turkey, just that it has no legitimate
reason not to claim the title).

Lee Daniel Crocker <> <>
"All inventions or works of authorship original to me, herein and past,
are placed irrevocably in the public domain, and may be used or modified
for any purpose, without permission, attribution, or notification."--LDC

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