Bernardine Adkins spoke to BBC World's Talking Business about the urgent need for businesses to check their trade mark portfolios, in light of the UK leaving the EU. This is in light of the EU's deal with China to protect speciality regional food and drink products.
Aaron Heslehurst: Okay, here's a question, Parma Ham, Cava, Irish whiskey, you can get me? and Feta cheese, what do they all have in common? And the answer is, they've all just got special status in a deal between the EU and China. The agreement will protect the geographical origins of 100 of those products, and the methods, but does it really matter if your cured ham comes from Parma? I don't know. We'll find out. Bernardine Adkins is Partner and Head of EU Trade & Competition at the law firm, Gowling, and joins us, and a familiar face, always good to see you. We should have opened this, shouldn't we, we could have had it!? So, just for the uninitiated, is this about ... so, 100 products, 100 European products, 100 Chinese products, so that's saying a Chinese company that makes ham in China can't call it 'Parma ham', is that right?
Bernardine Adkins: Correct, yes, but if it's derived from a particular area of China that has its own protection, is produced in a certain way, it can get that protection for its Chinese product.
Aaron: Right. And this has taken a long time coming because I think in 2012 each side only had 10!
Bernardine: That's right. This is what people need to appreciate, these trade agreements take years to build trust, years and years, this hasn't suddenly happened over-night. So we started with 10, but that was only after a few years of negotiations, now we're at 100, 4 years from now there'll be an additional 175 added from each side, it takes a long time.
Aaron: The UK's hoping they can do it over-night but we'll talk about that in a second!
Bernardine: I know.
Aaron: But I am hearing, certainly some people in Europe, from the European side of things, they say, for this agreement, it has to be a company in China, with new laws in China, and especially stricter enforcement. That's always a problem, isn't it?
Bernardine: Yes, yes, historically it has been but China is now really coming of age in terms of appreciating and understanding the need and the power for intellectual protection for its own innovations, to give its own innovations protection, so China is realising that it needs to become a worldwide citizen with its own appropriate...