The famous bee knife never ceases to be talked about.
Recognized throughout the world, the Laguiole continues its battle for obtaining a Geographical Identification (GI).
Guarantee of know-how and of the origin of manufacture, the precious label of products of craftsmanship and industry would allow, among other things, French cutlers to protect the export of Laguiole against massive and deceptive manufacture from from China and Pakistan.
But the recognition of the Laguiole knife under the State label also involves challenges at the local level.
A first GI application filed at the beginning of 2021 by manufacturers in the village of Laguiole, in Aveyron, is causing concern among manufacturers located outside the region.
In Thiers, in Puy-de-Dôme, the ancestral manufacture of the famous knife is also claimed and not being included in the geographical identification would have a significant impact on local cutlery.
The two cities have not yet granted their blades on the Geographical Identification zone to be certified.
To read also "Squid Game": Laguiole knives spotted in the hit series from Netflix
Since the Consumer Law of 2014 makes it possible to protect French craft products by creating a Geographical Indication, companies can highlight a specific place or region of production and thus promote the precious quality of their products. This is done for the union of Aveyron manufacturers of the Laguiole knife, which brings together seven cutlers from the Aubrac plateau, in the north of Aveyron. After a first IG request addressed to the National Institute of Industrial Property (INPI) at the beginning of the year, the union awaits around November 11 the results of the second public inquiry, bringing them a few months closer to a definitive response. of the INPI on obtaining the precious sesame. But a two-hour drive from Laguiole, in Thiers, in Auvergne,another union wants to make its voice heard.
If the small town of Thiers does not bear the name of the famous knife, it is nonetheless the world capital of cutlery, it also ancestral manufacturer of the famous knife which weighs in the balance of local manufacturers.
On the side of the Laguiole Aubrac Auvergne Knife Union (CLAA) representing around forty cutlery manufacturers, the demand for geographical identification from Aveyron manufacturers is causing a reaction.
As the result of the INPI public inquiry approaches, the CLAA is about to file its own request for geographical identification, but with a nuance, it wishes to have a common production recognized in the Laguiole and Thiers.
Employment as an issue
We make the same product,
” insists Aubry Verdier, cutler from Thiers and president of the CLAA union. For the president of the union, there is no doubt that the request for recognition of this know-how must be common to both cities. While cutlery represents no less than 800 jobs in the Thiers basin, Aubry Verdier recalls that "
the spirit of the law is not there to put in opposition companies which have participated in the notoriety of the product but to inform the consumer, promote a craft or industrial product and develop local employment
”. According to the cutler, the production of Laguiole represents no less than 40 to 80% of the turnover of half of the companies belonging to the union. Here thestake is well "
To read also Did the "made in France" take "a hell of a blow" under Emmanuel Macron?
While the Thiernois have been claiming the manufacture of Laguiole since the second half of the 19th century and supplying certain Aveyron cutlery, the president of the Laguiole union Honoré Durand, sees things differently. Honoré Durand defends the idea of "
relocating production to be kept in its rural areas
". In Laguiole, the steel blade is also the soul of the village. And geographical recognition as a guarantee of quality would lead local cutlery manufacturers to obtain their supplies exclusively in the area delimited by the label. So to boost local production. "What
makes the knife is the blade
", defends Honoré Durand for whom the common request for geographical identification would be "
a total aberration
Just like a Protected Designation of Origin, we ask for local recognition.
As with champagne, there is no reason to recognize a winegrower who produces 100 meters beyond the appellation zone
, ”says the president and head of the Durand cutlery.
In Thiers, the hope of a common identification is running its course and once the file has been submitted by the CLAA, the union estimates that it will take between 9 and 16 months to perhaps obtain the label.
The case is therefore not over.