The country of origin mark “Seafood from Norway” is a collective mark for Norwegian Seafood products. The owner, registered proprietary owner and rights holder of the country of origin mark is the Norwegian Seafood Council AS (“NSC"), which also sets out the use of and determines the specific and separate terms and conditions that apply in respect of the conditional access to and granted right to use the country of origin mark.
NSC uses the country of origin mark in its own material in Norway and internationally. The mark is also used in cooperation with parties in the seafood industry, as well as through license(s) granted by NSC allowing the specific use of the country of origin mark.
1. Products that can be labelled as “Seafood from Norway”
The country of origin mark may only be applied to products of Norwegian Seafood that:
- Are fit for human consumption as classified under the customs tariff chapter 3, with the exception of flour and pellets of fish fit for human consumption (position 03.05.1000 of the customs tariff) or chapter 16, position 16.04 and/or 16.05, pursuant to the Norwegian customs tariff.
- And which does not contain any seafood other than “Norwegian Seafood”.
“Norwegian Seafood” is defined as:
- Seafood that originates from fish or other marine products as defined in art. 1 of the Norwegian Fish Export Act No 9 of 27 April 1990
- Which naturally inhabits the seawaters or freshwaters of Norway
- Which is caught or farmed in compliance with Norwegian fisheries and aquaculture management, and
- Which has been landed on Norwegian land territory.
2. Who gains access to use the country of origin mark “Seafood from Norway”?
- Vessels registered in the Directorate of Fisheries registry of fishing vessels, in use in commercial fishery on the Norwegian coast and in Northern waters.
- Companies operating legally and in compliance with Norwegian aquaculture activities, that is to say participants in possession of aquaculture permits and who are listed in the aquaculture register pursuant to the Aquaculture Act of 17 June 2005 no. 79.
- Norwegian processing plants that are approved by the Directorate of Fisheries pursuant to qualitative regulations.
- Companies approved by the Norwegian Food Safety Authority and that only operate wholesale activities.
- Norwegian fisheries and aquaculture industry association organisations (“Trade Organisations”) who represent the participants mentioned above may use the country of origin mark to profile and promote their business. NSC defines, at its sole discretion, what and whom shall be deemed as Trade Organisations in this connection.
- Registered exporters of Norwegian Seafood.
3. Permit for use of the country of origin mark “Seafood from Norway" based on the execution of a separate licensing agreement with NSC
- Norwegian and foreign companies producing and processing Norwegian Seafood outside of Norway’s territory may, on special terms, obtain a license that allows the use of the country of origin mark on Norwegian Seafood. More information as to who may be granted rights to use the country of origin mark can be found here.
4. Areas of use, special requirements and terms for use of the country of origin mark
- The country of origin mark may be used to market/profile Norwegian seafood products by placement on, for example, packaging (both on product and outer packaging), marketing material and electronic media.
- Trade Organisations may use the country of origin mark “Seafood from Norway” in their advertising work, on the assumption that NSC cannot be apprehended as the originator of the message the Trade Organisation conveys.
- The country of origin mark shall only be used together with own product name, company name and/or trademark/logo. The label “Seafood from Norway" shall clearly appear as an additional mark to the statutory nutrition and ingredient labelling and own trademark/logo. It is assumed therefore that the “Seafood from Norway” label does not dominate the branding and that own trademark/logo is not designed in such a way that it may be confused with the country of origin mark.
- The category description/concept shall be clearly labelled on the product/packaging (such as “Norwegian Salmon” for example).
- Use of the country of origin mark shall be uniform and in accordance with these guidelines.
- The user accepts that NSC is the registered owner and rightful holder of the country of origin mark “Seafood from Norway”, and that the user does not achieve any ownership of or right of use of the brand beyond what follows from these guidelines and terms & conditions for use of the country of origin mark “Seafood from Norway”, and
- In making use of the country of origin mark “Seafood from Norway”, the user is deemed to have accepted the general guidelines and terms & conditions for use, which are applicable at all times.
5. Control of use of the country of origin mark “Seafood from Norway”
- The individual user must himself/herself/itself control that:
(i) any products where the country of origin mark “Seafood from Norway” is applied, are deemed as being “Norwegian Seafood” in accordance with these general guidelines and terms & conditions for use of the country of origin mark, and
(ii) that they otherwise possess the necessary permits, terms and licenses from authorities that may be required for their own activities.
- The individual user undertakes to establish a system for the tracing of all products that are labelled with the country of origin mark “Seafood from Norway”. Each and every product that is sold and labelled with the country of origin mark must be marked such that it may be traced through the entire value chain of production and back to a Norwegian raw materials delivery such that the requirement for use of the brand on only Norwegian Seafood may be documented. All raw materials input must be registered with suitable ID, for example catch certificate, with sufficient details to be traced back to a Norwegian supplier. Identification must be undertaken (unique where necessary) of all alterations to the product through internal production in the undertaking. In addition the production of Norwegian and non-Norwegian products must be separate. The user must also be able to document that employees have been trained in the tracing and labelling of Norwegian Seafood.
- NSC or a third party assigned by it is entitled to perform random spot check tests to ensure that all use of the mark is in accordance with those requirements and guidelines that are at all times indicated by NSC.
- NSC shall in all events be notified and sent specimens showing use of the mark on product/packaging and materials prior to implementation of such use.
6. Consequences of unlawful or irregular use of the country of origin mark “Seafood from Norway”
- Products marketed under the country of origin mark “Seafood from Norway” in breach of the at-all-times applicable general guidelines and terms & conditions of use shall, if required by NSC, immediately be withdrawn from the market. Users that have employed the country of origin mark and applied the mark on the product(s) will be held accountable and will be held liable to cover all costs and losses that accrue in connection with any withdrawal.
- NSC may at any time withdraw access to use the country of origin mark in the event that the user;
(i) makes use of unreasonable, hereunder misleading, trade practices
(ii) uses the trademark in breach of the at-all-times applicable general guidelines and terms & conditions of use in such a manner that it is either misleading marketing and/or undermines the right holder’s or the country of origin mark’s position, good name and reputation in the market, with consumers and/or with public authorities, and/or
(iii) the user has previously been issued a warning that use of the country of origin mark is in breach of guidelines and terms & conditions, and a new occurrence of where the country of origin mark is used in breach of the at-all-times applicable guidelines and terms & conditions is established.
- In the event that the country of origin mark is used in a manner that is deemed to be in breach of items (i) - (iii) above, the right to each and every further use of the country of origin mark “Seafood from Norway” lapses. Products that have the country of origin mark applied shall, unless otherwise expressly allowed by NSC, be withdrawn immediately.
- NSC may also invoke and claim those sanctions at all times warranted under Norwegian law, especially comprising but not limited to, those sanctions and requirements laid down in the Trade Marks Act of 26 March 2010 no. 8 and/or the Marketing Act of 9 January 2009 no. 2.
- The NSC may at any time alter these guidelines and terms & conditions for use of the country of origin mark “Seafood from Norway”, assuming that a reasonable time limit for compliance with revised guidelines and terms is allowed.
- Alterations are published on www.seafood.no.