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Wednesday, January 17, 2018Products news

Savon de Marseille: a slippery name

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Not everything can be called ‘Savon de Marseille’. As the battle is raging among all manufacturers, a new corporation of craftsmen, the ‘Association Savon de Marseille France’ (ASDMF), has burst onto the scene to defend its right to use the oh-so coveted name.

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It has been several years since professionals in this field have been fighting with the INPI (French national institute of industrial property) to obtain regulations for the ‘Savon de Marseille’ trade name. Two associations have asked for geographical indications protecting industrial and craft products (IGPIA).
On the one hand, the Union des Professionnels du Savon de Marseille (UPSM) intends to reserve the designation for manufacturers exclusively based in the region of Marseille using a traditional manufacturing process (cauldron).
On the other, the Association des Fabricants de Savon de Marseille (AFSM) would like to liberalize the certification.
And between those two, the ASDMF, which gathers 95% of French producers (respectively located in the western region of Nantes, in the Alps, and in a south-eastern suburb of Paris), wants the name to be recognized as a manufacturing process, and not to be related to a geographical situation. The idea is to show that this soap can be produced anywhere in France, and only the French know-how should be highlighted and preserved.
At the press conference organized by ASDMF last December 12, 2017, Association Chairman Pascal Marchal explained that ‘this soap has been made in Nantes since the early 19th century.’

Pascal Marchal also had another argument: the detrimental economic consequences for producers and consumers in the event of a geographical validation.
Indeed, the manufacturers that are not based in the Provence region might no longer be allowed to affix the ‘Savon de Marseille’ indication on their products. Their turnover would obviously decline.

ASDMF hopes to win the case with the INPI. ‘We must ensure and reassure people about the fact that the “manufacturing process” name is the right one for the 21st century Savon de Marseille,’ Pascal Marchal concluded.

More to follow…

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