Originally published March 2, 2016
Did you know that Parmesan cheese is trademarked and refers only to cheese produced in a specific region of Italy? It is illegal in Europe to call cheese produced outside 5 specific Italian provinces Parmesan. There has never been any Kobe beef sold in the United States. Kobe is a Japanese trademark and refers to beef specifically from Japan’s Hyogo Prefecture, even though every restaurant in Las Vegas serves it. How about Balsamic Vinegar? Oh, you get the idea.
We have a bad habit of ignoring these food trademarks in the United States although in recent years, the Champagne trademark seems to be respected a bit with all of the products not from Champagne France being called sparkling wine instead.
How about Nylon? A number of chemical companies all around the world call their product Nylon but what is Nylon? Is it a chemical name? No, the chemical name is polyamide. Why is all polyamide referred to as Nylon? Is this another violation of someone’s valuable trademark?
Actually the term nylon is not trademarked even though DuPont did coin the term. It’s an interesting story.