Having practiced in the areas of Commercial Law and Intellectual Property for over 12 years, in various Adelaide law firms, Paula Zito welcomed the new challenge and opportunity to teach in these subject areas at The University of Adelaide.
As Paula enjoyed using her knowledge in a different way with students, she decided to apply to undertake a PhD at The University of Adelaide, and is now researching her topic of “Geographical Indications: What is their worth? A comparison of Geographical Indication (GI) registrations between Australia and Italy”. This topic examines the potential risks and benefits of extending GI registrations in Australia, to products other than wines and spirits, in a similar vein to what has been done already in Europe. Paula is particularly focussing on the benefits and risks that such GI extension may have for food products and Australian regions, and the legal implications of such an extension.
As Italy has the highest food GI registrations, Paula is looking at the Italian/European GI system to see if Australia could adopt a similar system, and adapt it to local food products, laws, needs and regions. Paula has already conducted several interviews with producers in the Barossa Valley and Adelaide Hills, to determine if there is interest in using a GI system for food, as a form of regional branding.
She has also just returned from Italy, where she interviewed various producers in the regions of Piedmont, Emilia-Romagna and Tuscany, who have been using the food GI system since the 1990s. Paula’s Italian interviews focused on asking interviewees what are the pros and cons of the GI system; what are the expenses involved in setting up, and being part of, the system; whether it is worthwhile using GIs for food; all with a view to determining what sort of GI system could work in Australia, if at all. She was in Italy for 3 weeks and carried out 15 interviews.
Paula has met some amazing producers/organisations, and will remain in contact with all of them. They were so pleased to meet with someone from The University of Adelaide, and to see that there’s interest in some sort of GI system for foods in Australia. They were very welcoming and provided Paula with much great, practical information.
Paula has now started a Facebook & Instagram account called “Paula’s FORC (Food, Origin, Regionality, Culture)”, which include details on all the interviews that she has conducted locally and in Italy, as well as other information relating to her research.