Lecturer of Law
Adelaide Law School
Faculty of the Professions
Lecturer, Faculty of Professions, Adelaide Law School
Independent Food Geographical Indications Consultant
PhD conferred February 2018
Researcher in Geographical Indications (Intellectual Property Law), the connection between food and origin and regional branding (food labelling) of food products
Legal Practitioner (Commercial and Intellectual Property)
3MT Finalist (2016)
Regional Branding of food products
Many food producers and traders use Australian regional names on food products (Regional Branding) to respond to current consumer preferences for 'local' and 'authentic' foods. There is value in Regional Branding, because it not only indicates the food product's geographical origin, but also infuses food products with certain qualities and characteristics that can be tied back to the region named in the Regional Branding. Many consumers assume that food products that include Regional Branding will have certain qualities and characteristics, such as that the food product is made using locally sourced ingredients and that it is made within the region. They might even expect that the food product has been made using local processes, methods and traditions unique to that region. Consumers respond positively to food products that are branded with Barossa or Barossa Valley, because they are aware of the reputation that the Barossa has for producing quality food products. However, in many circumstances, food products that are branded with Barossa or Barossa Valley have a very weak connection with the Barossa or no connection at all. Notwithstanding this lack of connection, many food producers take advantage of the reputation that the region has for producing quality and authentic regional food products, and the value that accordingly exists in the region's name, to respond to consumer preferences for local and authentic food products.
Current Australian laws and regulations regulating the usage of Regional Branding on food labels
The current patchwork of Australian laws and regulations regulating the usage of Regional Branding on food labels falls into the following main groups:
- consumer protection laws under the Australian Consumer Law that is set out in Schedule 2 of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth)
- passing off and extended passing off
- trade mark laws under the Trade Marks Act 1995 (Cth).
These laws and regulations have various deficiencies that mean food producers can use Regional Branding on food labels to make origin claims on food products that lack any clear or strong connection with the region claimed. In doing so, many food producers and traders take advantage of, and free-ride on, the reputation that Australian regions have for producing quality regional food and the value that accordingly exists in the relevant Australian regional names.
My research explores the worth of using food Geographical Indications (GIs) on food products to make an origin claim in the context of a sui generis food GI system. A sui generis food GI system is a legal framework dedicated to regulating that a connection between food product and place exists before Regional Branding (in the form of a food GI) can be used on a food label. In my research I assess the value of using a sui generis food GI system to protect the connection between Australian regional food and origin and to protect the assets that Australia has in Australian regional names as identifiers of authentic regional food products that have a clear and strong connection with Australian regions. I make this assessment against a background of significant and original fieldwork carried out in Italy and South Australia.
I recommend in my research that a sui generis food GI system is crucial for Australia to ensure adequate regulation and protection of the connection between Australian regional food and origin nationally and internationally. By drawing on the observations that I made during the Italian and South Australian fieldwork, I recommend and explain the key elements that are required for a successful Australian sui generis food GI system. I explain these with a view to assisting Australian government and Australian regional food producers and the broader Australian food, agrifood and agricultural industries, to design a sui generis food GI system that takes into consideration GI-related issues relevant to Australia at both a national and international level.
Three Minute Thesis Competition
In 2016, I represented the Faculty of the Professions in the 3MT Competition and was one of the ten finalists. You can see a three minute presentation of my research here:
Date Position Institution name 2021 Lecturer University of Adelaide 2018 Independent Food Geographical Indications Consultant Dr Paula Zito 2018 Doctor of Philosophy University of Adelaide 2012 Associate Teacher University of Adelaide, Adelaide 2002 - 2009 Senior Associate Phillips Fox 1999 - 2002 Associate Minter Ellison Lawyers 1997 - 1999 Solicitor Donaldson Walsh Lawyers
Language Competency Italian Can read, write, speak, understand spoken and peer review Spanish - Latin American Can read, write, speak and understand spoken Spanish; Castilian Can read, write, speak, understand spoken and peer review
Date Institution name Country Title 2013 - 2018 University of Adelaide, Adelaide Australia Doctor of Philosophy 1998 - 1999 University of South Australia, Adelaide Australia Practical Legal Training 1998 - 1998 University of South Australa Australia Graduate Certificate in Legal Practice 1994 - 1997 University of Adelaide, Adelaide Australia Honours Degree of Bachelor of Laws 1993 - 1995 University of Adelaide, Adelaide Australia Bachelor of Arts
Date Title Institution name Country 1998 Admission as Solicitor and Barrister of the Supreme Court of South Australia Supreme Court of South Australia Australia 1998 Admission as Solicitor and Barrister of the High Court of Australia High Court of Australia Australia
Year Citation 2021 Zito, P. (2021). Current and future protection of Geographical Indications in Australia. Journal of Intellectual Property Law & Practice, 16(4-5), 348-356.
2020 Zito, P. C. (2020). Protection of Australian Regional Names as Food Geographical Indications – South Australian Case Study: Part 1. Australian Intellectual Property Journal, 31, 43-63. 2019 Zito, P. C. (2019). Australian Laws and Regulations on Regional Branding on Food and Wine Labels: Part 1. Australian Intellectual Property Journal, 29(2), 67-90. 2019 Zito, P. C. (2019). Australian Laws and Regulations on Regional Branding on Food and Wine Labels: Part 2. Australian Intellectual Property Journal, 29(3), 127-177. 2019 Zito, P. (2019). Protezione IG in Australia, un processo in corso. Consortium.
Year Citation 2021 Giancaspro, M., Golding, G., Nosworthy, B., Brown, D., Viven-Wilksch, J., Wawryk, A., . . . Zito, P. (2021). Contemporary Australian Business Law. Cambridge University Press.
Year Citation 2018 Zito, P. C. (2018). Geographical Indications: What is Their Worth? A Comparison of Geographical Indication Registrations Between Australia and Italy. (PhD Thesis, The University of Adelaide).
Commercial Law I and II
Foundations of Law
Date Role Committee Institution Country 2019 - ongoing Member — Association of Italian Researchers in Australia Australia 2019 - ongoing Member — Intellectual Property Society of Australia & New Zealand Australia
Date Role Membership Country 2019 - ongoing Member Intellectual Property Society of Australia and New Zealand Australia 2019 - ongoing Member International Association for the Advancement in Teaching and Research of Intellectual Property Germany 2019 - ongoing Member Intellectual Property Research Institute of Australia Australia 2019 - ongoing Member European Policy for Intellectual Property Switzerland 2019 - ongoing Member EU Centre at RMIT University of Melbourne Australia 2019 - ongoing Member Intellectual Property & Innovation Researchers of Asia Singapore 2019 - ongoing Member International Wine Law Association Australia 1998 - ongoing Member Law Society of South Australia Australia 1998 - ongoing Member Alumni Association of University of Adelaide Australia
Date Topic Presented at Institution Country 2021 - ongoing Food Geographical Indications: The Important Role they play in Regulating and Identifying Authentic Italian Food Products — Italian Chamber of Commerce & Industry in Australia Inc — 2021 - ongoing Australian Food Geographical Indications — Intellectual Property Society of Australia and New Zealand — 2021 - ongoing Food Geographical Indications — Italian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Australia Inc — 2020 - 2020 The Value of Food Geographical Indications — Italian Ambassador to Australia — 2020 - 2020 Australian Food Geographical Indications — Australian National University Centre for EU Studies — 2020 - 2020 The case for Food Geographical Indications Protection in Australia — RMIT EU Centre of Excellence — 2020 - 2020 Geographical Indications: What is their worth for regulating the connection between Australian regional food and origin? Food Futures in the Anthropocene: Just, Place-Based Convivial - A Virtual Conference University of Tasmania, University of Adelaide, William Angliss Institute, Sustain Australia 2020 - ongoing Food Geographical Indications — Intellectual Property Australia, Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade — 2019 - ongoing From Paddock to Plate Intercontinental Adelaide American Chamber of Commerce — 2019 - ongoing Food Geographical Indications IPSANZ Adelaide Half Day Conference Intellectual Property Society of Australia and New Zealand (IPSANZ) — 2019 - ongoing Geographical Indications – What South Australia can learn from the EU Golding Winery, Adelaide Hills EU Delegation to Australia & Institute of International Trade, University of Adelaide — 2019 - ongoing The Importance of Place: Food Geographical Indications - A Legal Perspective — DW Fox Tucker Lawyers — 2019 - ongoing Registered Geographical Indications - the Legal Perspective South Australian Regional Development Conference 2019 Regional Development Association of South Australia — 2019 - ongoing The Importance of Place: Geographical Indications as a Tool for Local and Regional Development - A Legal Perspective Cape Mentelle Vineyards, Margaret River, Western Australia RMIT EU Centre and EU Delegation to Australia — 2019 - ongoing Food Geographical Indications University of Tasmania Intellectual Property Academics Conference, University of Tasmania Australia 2018 - ongoing Food Geographical Indications Institute of International Trade, The University of Adelaide Institute of International Trade, The University of Adelaide Australia 2018 - ongoing Food Geographical Indications Global Food and Resources Centre, The University of Adelaide Global Food and Resources Centre, The University of Adelaide Australia 2018 - ongoing Food Geographical Indications The Residence of the Italian Ambassador to Australia, Canberra EU Delegation to Australia/Italian Embassy Australia 2018 - ongoing Food Geographical Indications The University of Adelaide Food Values Research Group, The University of Adelaide Australia
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