The associations representing two icons of British cuisine – the Cornish pasty and Scotch whisky – have joined the debate around Brexit.

Leaving the EU – an IP risk

Both associations have come forward stating that if the UK was to leave the EU this would compromise their rights obtained through IP protection bestowed under EU legislation.

The chair of the Cornish Pasty Association (CPA) has stated that since the CPA has benefitted from the “EU Protected Food Names” system, that organisation supports remaining in the EU.

Cornish pasty and Scotch whisky - IP history

The Cornish pasty (a pastry which is usually filled with meat and/or vegetables and is created in a distinctive “D” shape) was granted protection as a geographical indication (GI) in 2011.

Only pastries which are made with a certain recipe can be sold under the term “Cornish pasty”.

The CPA has expressed concern that Brexit would mean that its iconic pastry would lose its GI status.

Additionally, the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) has publically registered its support of the “Remain” campaign. The SWA was granted a GI in 2008 for the term “Scotch whisky”.

CEO of the SWA, David Frost has stated that “the EU’s single market…(is) central to Scotch whisky’s success”.

How will Brexit affect GI protection?

However, it is unlikely that Brexit will impact greatly on the GI status of either of the above organisations. GI protection is currently available for associations outside of the EU, and presumably the UK government would ensure that such protection would also be available in the UK. The potential difference for CPA and SWA may be that they would have 2 separate rights to administer and enforce – one for the UK and one for the EU.

The UK goes to the polls on Brexit on 23 June 2016.