France’s Laguiole knifemakers seek protection from knock-offs

Manufacturers of the iconic French Laguiole knives are seeking a protection under the artisanal Geographical Indication (GI) mechanism as a defense against counterfeiting.

An  artisanal GI is similar to the Protected geographical indication (PGI) used for food and wine products, and in the same way emphasises the relationship between the specific geographic region and the name of the product.

In this case, that is the village of Laguiole in the Aveyron region of France – the home of the Forge de Laguiole brand – as well as producers in surrounding areas in the Aubrac region, including the nearby town of Thiers which houses brands like Fontenille Pataud and Laguiole en Aubrac.

Laguiole pocket knives are handmade and were traditionally use by shepherds and farmers. They have a distinctive curved shape, often have a distinctive bee or fly motif on a plate that forms part of the spring, and generally have a hand chiselled or engraved spine.

The genuine models typically cost between €100 and €400m but can go up into the thousands of euros for a customised knife, but cheap copycats – generally mass produced in China or Pakistan – can sell for less than €20.

Anti-Counterfeit Packaging Market by Technology, End-Use Industry and Region - Global Forecast to 2025

While some of the larger producers have trademarked their own brands, they collectively want to secure a GI that will provide an umbrella of protection for local producers.

While that in itself won’t stop counterfeits being produced, knifemakers from the area will be able to mark their blades with the GI mark, which should help differentiate them from the knock-offs. Of course, low-cost producers could copy the logo easily, but that would at least open up a route for litigation and enforcement actions.

Two separate applications for an artisanal GI for Laguiole knives are due to be filed in the coming weeks, according to a article. One is from Laguiole itself and the neighbouring region, and the other for Thiers association the CLAA (Couteau Laguiole Aubrac Auvergne).

The filings will be made at the Institut National de la Propriété Industrielle (INPI) in Paris. A public enquiry is due to run until March 29, and the INPI will have two months to arrive at its decision.

Image by Wolfgang Claussen from Pixabay

Related articles:

     Want our news sent directly to your inbox?

Yes please 2


Home  |  About us  |  Contact us  |  Advertise  |  Links  |  Partners  |  Privacy Policy  |   |  RSS feed   |  back to top