Cutting edge

Laguiole is a French village famous for – or course – their cheese, but also for the knives they manufacture. The town is now the centre of a big trademark dispute about their name.

France’s most famous knives come from this town and are, conveniently branded, Laguiole.

The villagers are outraged after losing a court battle from a Paris based company that has registered Laguiole as a trademark. The town accuses the firm of stealing their heritage and, even worse, applying the village name to cheap products from China.

The court’s decision was remarkable. According to the court “the Laguiole knife had entered into common language”. It also ruled that “the object that was famous, not the village”.

“The world Laguiole has been kidnapped. It has been stolen from us,” said Michel Bras, owner of a Michelin-starred restaurant in the village.

This will probably not be the last we hear of this. The village takes their heritage very seriously. And justly so. In the end, we will see who will win. MarkMatters.com’s bet is on the ones with the high quality knives.

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