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News Article Intellectual property

Alia

'Awa Grower/Collector
Well, this is interesting.
Vanuatu obviously has it more together...
but here in Hawai'i for example, Nene and Mahakea
(to name just 2) were grown throughout the Islands
and therefore Nene is Nene wherever here.
 

Michael Nielsen

Kava Enthusiast
Its just like champagne it might be called that if it's made from grapes from certain area of France. The same with feta cheese that only can be made in Greece.
 

Alia

'Awa Grower/Collector
Its just like champagne it might be called that if it's made from grapes from certain area of France. The same with feta cheese that only can be made in Greece.
Yes, it's similar but this is a bit more specific in that they are saying a particular cultivar of Vanuatu kava that comes from "XX" region of Vanuatu can only be sold by that name if it comes from "XX" region of Vanuatu.
In the example of champagne, I wonder if it has to be made from a particular cultivar of grape? from that region or can any cultivar of grape do as long as it is grown and beverage made in that region?
 

kasa_balavu

Yaqona Dina
Well, this is interesting.
Vanuatu obviously has it more together...
but here in Hawai'i for example, Nene and Mahakea
(to name just 2) were grown throughout the Islands
and therefore Nene is Nene wherever here.
But nowhere else, right? If I grow Nene in Fiji, should I be able to call it Awa Nene, or should that name be restricted to Nene grown in Hawaii?

This sort of geographic indication works well for Vanuatu, and Hawaii, but not so much for Fiji or Tonga, since we haven't created "brands" around our cultivars.

But yeah, same as champagne produced outside of Champagne, France having to be called sparkling wine, or the name Tequila being restricted to spirits produced within a small area in Mexico and nowhere else in the world.
 

Alia

'Awa Grower/Collector
But nowhere else, right? If I grow Nene in Fiji, should I be able to call it Awa Nene, or should that name be restricted to Nene grown in Hawaii?

This sort of geographic indication works well for Vanuatu, and Hawaii, but not so much for Fiji or Tonga, since we haven't created "brands" around our cultivars.

But yeah, same as champagne produced outside of Champagne, France having to be called sparkling wine, or the name Tequila being restricted to spirits produced within a small area in Mexico and nowhere else in the world.
The way I am reading this proposed Vanuatu legislation is a little different.
They seem to be suggesting that if a specific cultivar of kava was developed, selected, from a specific area
then that cultivar cannot be sold by that exact name unless it is grown in that specific area of Vanuatu.
The only cultivar in Hawai'i that may qualify is Hanakapi'ai since it was found no where else but that Valley on Kaua'i.
Using that rule here would not work since no one lives there now.
I cannot think of any other Hawai'i cultivar that would qualify since their origins are scattered on all the main Hawaiian Islands.
As for Fiji, Lebot writes- "Cultivar qila is named after a famous village in Taveuni where the clone probably originated."
So using this rule unless you grow qila in Taveuni then it cannot be called qila.
Frankly I do not like this new Vanuatu Law.
There is too much I, Me, Mine in it.
 

kasa_balavu

Yaqona Dina
The way I am reading this proposed Vanuatu legislation is a little different.
They seem to be suggesting that if a specific cultivar of kava was developed, selected, from a specific area
then that cultivar cannot be sold by that exact name unless it is grown in that specific area of Vanuatu.
Isn't the only difference then, the size of the claimed growing area (a region/island vs a State or country)?

As for Fiji, Lebot writes- "Cultivar qila is named after a famous village in Taveuni where the clone probably originated."
Not to take away from your point, but this was just speculation by Lebot, and IMO he was wrong. Qila is a relatively new settlement, developed in the last fifty years. It's not an iTaukei (native Fijian) village. Qila is a word meaning a sturdy stick (often hooked) used in agriculture for clearing land. I think it's more likely the cultivar got its name from that stick.
 

nabanga

Kava Enthusiast
I think the Vanuatu law is mainly aimed to "give a little something" back to the farmers in the main individual kava growing islands - so, for example, people with more resources and business knowledge can't be growing Palarasul in the Solomons and exporting it as such, removing an opportunity from poor farmers in Santo.

Growers in Malekula can still grow and sell Melomelo that originated not far away in Ambae, but cannot capitalise on what has become a brandname.
I live in Asia and often see the likes of "Penesonic" batteries, "Adidos" sports shoes, etc - so hopefully the law doesn't allow such obvious loopholes as probably 90% of "new" kava drinkers worldwide have no idea that Melomelo comes from Ambae, or where Ambae is on a map (present company excepted of course). Someone could produce "MellowMellow" in Solomons and many people wouldn't know the difference, so the law would need to clearly define use of names and variations on names.
 

PurimGrogger

Because "Shell Silverstein" was already taken
I do a lot of work in this field. If the geographic origins are meaningful and distinguish the goods from others, then their designations are generally deserving of protection. Yes, it is similar to Scotch, cognac, Chianti, Tabasco, certain cheeses and the like. The "MellowMellow" example is very realistic and I was just speaking to someone recently about this type of scenario. It will be interesting to some to see how the terroir-based designations will develop to interface and overlap with varietal/strain designations and more creative good faith branding strategies. Less interesting will be the inevitable bad faith branding strategies . .
 
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Alia

'Awa Grower/Collector
Thanks @kasa_balavu for clarifying the Qila quote from Vincent Lebot. Yes, the issue here is that this new law would make the "claimed growing area" smaller .
So rather than a Nation claiming origin , it is a portion of the Nation saying only that portion can make that claim for whatever. --
Thanks also @nabanga for your mana'o on this issue. I see our discussion here along with @PurimGrogger comment as evidence that all of us share an above average interest in the concept of intellectual property.
The final concern I would express is that somatic mutations are a reality in kava plants.
In Hawai'i it is not uncommon for Papa 'Ele'ele to revert to Hiwa . I've commented before that there is even an old mele regarding 'Awa pairs.
I wonder what would happen in Vanuatu (if this proposed law gets enacted) if one farmer growing a cultivar endemic to that region finds the cultivar mutating to a cultivar from another region, another Island .
 

Michael Nielsen

Kava Enthusiast
Yes, it's similar but this is a bit more specific in that they are saying a particular cultivar of Vanuatu kava that comes from "XX" region of Vanuatu can only be sold by that name if it comes from "XX" region of Vanuatu.
In the example of champagne, I wonder if it has to be made from a particular cultivar of grape? from that region or can any cultivar of grape do as long as it is grown and beverage made in that region?
I dont believe its about taking patent on specific strains of kava.
But to protect the whole concept regarding vanuatu kava.
 

PurimGrogger

Because "Shell Silverstein" was already taken
Correct. It is about protecting signifiers of geographic designations of origin. It may result in the creation of a "certification mark" of sorts to be used and protected to add transparency about a kava's geographical source. In the champagne example, by the way, the product has to both be from that region and be made from a select few list of grapes.
 
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