Their colleagues from Laguiole would have preferred a label limited to the north of Aveyron, but their file was rejected by the National Institute of Industrial Property (INPI) on April 11th.

Their intention was to protect their know-how and to fight against copies from China and Pakistan.

They appealed the refusal of the INPI, according to which the territory of manufacture of Laguiole must be extended beyond Aveyron.

The craftsmen of Thiers, capital of cutlery, who produce both their own folding pocket knives – the Thiers -, but also Laguiole, for their part submitted a request at the end of January covering the two territories, claiming a “knowledge -to be established for more than 150 years in the Massif Central”.

Laguiole production could not have survived without them, they argue. It is therefore a question of “restoring History and the truth”, as Aubry Verdier, the president of CLAA (Couteau Laguiole Aubrac Auvergne) said when filing this request.

“False!”, replies Honoré Durand, president of the Aveyron manufacturers’ union.

“The origin of Laguiole is in Laguiole. Thiers’ request also covers eight departments, while a geographical indication must be attached to a well-defined territory”, he insists in an interview with AFP.

“We steal the name of a village to put it on products that will be manufactured 200 kilometers away”, he complains, denouncing “consumer deception”.

A sign of the sensitivity of the file, the president of CLAA, which brings together 38 professionals from Thiers and Laguiole – around 400 jobs – now refuses to speak, pending the decision.

“We have always worked with Laguiole and we want to continue to do so, hand in hand,” says Yann Delarboulas, co-manager of Fontenille Pataud, a fine cutlery factory founded in Thiers in 1929.

With a turnover of 1.41 million euros, his company produces around 4,000 high quality knives per year, mainly made to order.

The Laguiole represents more than half of its turnover: “Abroad, as in the United States or Japan, it is 80%, because the Laguiole benefits from an international aura and remains the most known,” he explains.

In its traditional shape, the Laguiole differs from other folding knives by its curved shape and especially its handle decorated with a stylized bee.

– “Reward”-

The Fontenille Pataud cutlery, which employs 19 people, has just moved into the renovated premises of a former factory, in the heart of the Creux de l’enfer, in the valley of the Dore in full renaissance, where the factories of knives.

The steel and the cutting of the blades are carried out by subcontractors from the Thiers area.

Each worker then makes his knife from A to Z: assembly, polishing, guillochage (ornament of the handle), sharpening.

“It’s more rewarding, we necessarily invest more,” explains Aymeric Duvillaret, changing the handle of a knife on which he spotted a slight defect.

The materials of the handles are mostly natural: wood, horn, ivory, mother-of-pearl. Two copies were even made at the request of a customer with… pieces of meteorite.

“The Laguiole, we master it long, wide and across! It has always made us live,” says workshop manager Jean-Paul Marques, 50, who has been making knives since the age of 17.

In fact, with subcontractors, more than a thousand jobs depend on Laguiole in Thiers, according to CLAA.

“The (geographical) indication is a holy grail, it’s very important for us because it’s the reward for the work of several centuries”, underlines Yann Delarboulas, himself a cutler’s great-grandson.

“It would also be a recognition of the coming together of our two territories, historically and economically speaking,” he adds.

But for Honoré Durand, the two territories “do not fight on equal terms”.

“Thiers is an industrial area, Laguiole is a small rural village of 1,000 inhabitants. We don’t have the same constraints and no one will want to make Laguiole here if Thiers’ request is accepted,” he says.

The decision on the geographical indication application filed by Thiers is not expected for several months.