The relations of Georgia and Armenia have taken a sour turn over yoghurt. Recently, Georgia has refused to allow Armenian made yoghurt to cross its border, considering the diary product to be a violation of Georgian Intellectual Property. The move has sparked long-standing relations.
As per sources, the controversy began when a former PM of Armenia, Hrant Bagratyan, posted on social media that Georgia is blocking the entry of Armenian-made yoghurt, a famous dairy product known as Matsun in Armenia and Matsoni in Georgia.
The post of Hrant Bagratyan rapidly spread on social media, and the Armenian government confirmed the news, noting that the Georgian government consider Matsun to be a violation of the intellectual property rights Tbilisi claims to Matsoni.
Tengiz Kalandadze, the chief of the Food Department at the Georgian Ministry of Agriculture, said that the customs department told that there was a truck at the border loaded with a similar product that is patented in Georgia. Moreover, the officials of Georgia said that the story, which is highlighted by the former PM of Georgia, was about a single incident that occurred in the last year.
In addition, Tengiz Kalandadze also said that the law on intellectual property stops the usage of names similar to a patented name, and since the Armenian word Matsun sounds too similar to Georgian Matsoni, we sent the truck back.
However, the officials of Armenia complain that no one asked them to whom Matsoni/Matsun belong. Armenian officials said since last year, Matsun continued to get a free pass through Georgia, but later Tbilisi started to apply strict geographic indication protection laws.
Moreover, One dairy producer in Armenia started rebranding its Matsun as an Armenian Mountain Yogurt in order to supply and avoid Georgian restrictions.
Both governments have indicated that they are trying to come up with a solution. The move sparked Georgians and Armenians to spar over the true ownership of the yoghurt. The Armenian embassy in Tbilisi has also demanded an explanation over the dispute.