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October 10, 2008

Who owns Hummus?

From National Public Radio: Lebanon (by way of Lebanese businessmen) wants to sue Israel for exclusive rights to name products with labels like "hummus" and "falafel" and others.  They claim this is what France has done with "champagne" and Greece with "feta".

Listen to the report here: http://www.theworld.org/?q=node/21630&answer=true

William Mitchell College of Law student Peter Hemberger (who sent me this story) comments:

Trademarking a cultural item that has mingled with several cultures for centuries?  Who has priority: the first to register or the one that can prove they have been using the mark the longest? 

What sort of international law would make this sort of exclusive use possible?

Food for thought I guess.

I note that the Hebrew word for garbanzo bean is "humus" so the name of the spread is really just "garbanzo beans."  DMB 

October 10, 2008 in Issues and thoughts | Permalink


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