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Famous French treat gets trademarked... by the Chinese

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Famous French treat gets trademarked... by the Chinese
Photo: AFP
13:25 CET+01:00
One of southern France's most famous sweet treats is now a Chinese brand.
Anyone with a sweet tooth in the south of France would be familiar with Calissons d'Aix - a fruity treat with ground almond and icing sugar on top. 
 
But did you know that they're now actually Chinese?
 
Shanghai-based business Ye Chunlin managed to snap up the rights to the sweet, right under the noses of the French who have been in the process of trying to trademark it internationally for years. 
 
And locals have been left gobsmacked. 
 
"I thought it was a joke, I didn't believe it until I saw it in the papers," someone living next door to the Calisson Museum in Aix-en-Provence told the BFM TV news channel. 
 
In France, the sweet had been protected since 1991, but that only means that locals need to follow strict procedures while making them. People abroad can legally do whatever they want. 
 
Photo: Patrick Müller/Flickr
 
In an attempt to get the trademark on the international stage, French manufacturers took 14 years to agree on exactly which recipe constitutes the treat.
 
By 2015, they managed to lodge a trademark bid at the Indication Géographique Protégée (IGP), which would have given them the global right to the tasty little French candy.
 
But it was too late. 
 
Indeed, the Chinese company wasted no time in getting in first, having their own application accepted under intellectual property agency Sipo. 
 
The French Union de Fabricants des Calissons in Aix has lodged a claim to try and block the decision, hoping that they can prove that the treat is a name rather than a brand. 
 
The news comes at a bad time for market leaders Les Calissons Roy René, which is in the process of a major expansion that will soon see a boutique open in a new mall in Miami. 
 
The actual origins of the Calisson are unclear, with some actually tracing it back to Italy centuries before it became popular in France. 
 
Many agree, however, that it became known in its modern form in the 16th century in the south of France. 
 
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