It’s a heartfelt goodbye. This week it was reported that the giant of the chocolate industry Mondelez will have to remove the iconic image of the mountain from the packaging of Toblerone chocolate. All this because the mountain that is represented is not just any “peak”, but the emblematic Matterhorn (or, as they say in Italy, “Monte Cervino”). Along with Mont Blanc, it is the best-known mountain in the Alps. It is so well known that Swiss law considers it a national symbol and, according to the “Swissness-Gesetzgebung” – the legislation that protects the use of indications of Swiss provenance – their use requires that at least half of the production of Toblerone be made in the country. Now, taking into account that the company announced that the production of Toblerone would move to Slovakia, Matterhorn can no longer be represented on the packaging.
Although it may seem like it, it is far from being an atypical decision. This is a matter concerning indications of origin. These refer to the geographic origin of a product, namely the mention, direct or indirect, of the place where it was extracted, produced, manufactured, distributed, among other indications. And here the Swiss are quite careful. The reputation that consumers attach to Swiss-made chocolate, as well as to other types of products such as watches, must be treated with caution. In this way, consumers are not deceived and the reputation of local products is maintained.
But this is not the only case: just remember the reputation that consumers attach to technology or German beer, as well as French perfumes. Each country has its ex-libris. The great difficulty in this context has been to determine when the indication of origin is misleading. First of all, because in the current era of globalization it is almost impossible to guarantee the existence of 100% national products.
In terms of intellectual property strategy, even though it was the registered trademark with the famous mountain, Mondelez has already announced that it will change its image, putting an “incognito” mountain (or, as one might say, any mountain) on the packaging, fleeing , thus, to a conflict with the Swiss authorities. The question remains as to how the conflict would be resolved if Mondelez argued that the image of the mountain, through continued use, would have acquired a reputation with consumers no longer by reference to the country but to Toblerone chocolate itself.
Anyway, if it is to replace it with another mountain, it may be that Mondelez will be inspired by the new production site. Will we see the new Toblerone packaging with the image of theTratas Mountains?
The author writes according to the new spelling agreement