An ag group in Turkey has applied to the Turkish Patent Institute to trademark the word IDAHO for its agricultural, plant and animal products and the Idaho Potato Commission doesnt take too kindly to that idea.
Neither did the Idaho Senate, which on Thursday fast-tracked a resolution against the move proposed by the Potato Commission and passed it unanimously.
If that office grants them that authority to use Idaho as their trademark, they can both sell and market products both in Turkey and internationally using the Idaho name, said Sen. Steve Bair, R-Blackfoot, Senate Agriculture Committee chairman.
I guess we take exception to that. This is not intended to poke our finger into Turkeys eye, but they need to understand that we treasure the Idaho name.
If others can use the name on their products, he said, Idaho loses the ability to regulate the quality of Idahos products.
Its not clear why the group wants to use the Idaho name. The Turkish agency has a public comment period on the application through Feb. 12; thats why the Senate is rushing the resolution.
We need to get it done so the governor can get a letter drafted, Bair said.
The Potato Commission already has hired a Turkish attorney and shes provided advice on how to proceed.
Bair, a retired potato farmer, said he feels bad because Idaho has a great relationship with Turkey.
This is not intended to damage that, he said. We need to protect our intellectual property. If anybody on the face of the earth has done a good job with trademarks, its the Potato Commission with Famous Potatoes.
The resolution urges the governor to review the matter and take all necessary steps to oppose the application. It also directs that an official copy of the approved resolution be distributed to the Republican of Turkey, the Turkish Patent Institute and the congressional delegation representing the State of Idaho in the Congress of the United States.
Bair told the Senate, We need to pursue it through the federal level as well. I have less confidence that we can get anything done at the federal level by Feb. 12, therefore its important that we pass this resolution today.