Dear members and oriGIn community,
As 2023 come to an end, we would like to review some of the main achievements we have accomplished together this year.
First of all, our Biennial Meeting, held in Geneva from 5-7 October, was a great success. Some two hundred representatives of GI groups, public authorities, international organizations, negotiators, law firms, control bodies, private enterprises and academia, from 40 countries, gathered in Geneva for what turned out to be a unique learning and networking opportunity. The event, which coincided with oriGIn’s 20th anniversary, was an opportunity to acknowledge the significant progress achieved by GIs over the years at global level, both as a recognized intellectual property right and a tool for the sustainable development of local communities.
Likewise, 2023 witnessed the consolidation of our ‘GI Trends’ Panel initiative. The 2023 survey – focused on the impact of inflation and high energy prices – was presented on 18 May in Singapore, during the INTA Annual Meeting, before an international audience, including a high number of Asian GI stakeholders. The 2023 survey confirmed that the long-term perspective – which is part of the GI nature and reinforced by its local governance – allows stakeholders to find pragmatic solutions and turn challenges into opportunities. In a period of major economic challenges characterized by high inflation and raising energy and production costs, the GI sector showed once more resilience and capacity to adapt.
Another important achievement was accomplished in the field of enforcement. On 29 September, the General Court granted oriGIn leave to intervene in Case T-239/23 (concerning a trademark application containing a GI limited to goods in conformity with the corresponding GI product’s specification), in its capacity as global GI alliance and in light of its objective to better protect GIs internationally. This represents a positive precedent for GIs, showing as well oriGIn’s potential in supporting members in enforcement cases. In 2024, to respond to an emerging need of our network, we will finalize a specific policy for the direct involvement of oriGIn in legal cases (amicus curiae, intervention before a court, …) as well as in drafting observations with respect to trademark applications in conflict with GIs.
At the EU level, two important reforms are in the process of being / were finalized: The revision of Geographical Indications Policy (GI Review) – close to its final approval – and the new Regulation on the protection of geographical indications for craft and industrial products. With respect to the GI Review, the work of oriGIn EU with the European Parliament and Council contributed to improve the initial proposal: a more robust protection of GIs, a solid definition of sustainability, a clear legal framework on recognized producers’ groups and the commitment the Commission will remain responsible for the system, while it might be assisted in the execution of administrative tasks. On the other hand, with the new EU Regulation on craft and industrial GIs, while some inconsistencies were introduced at the level of controls, important traditions and qualities will be protected in the EU, thereby promoting the economic potential of the origin craft sector. An important activity of monitoring will have to implemented in the following years to ensure the correct implementation of these two regulations.
Finally, our activities contributed to the expansion of the WIPO Geneva Act of the Lisbon Agreement, which attracted in 2023 an increasing number of Contracting Parties. This represents a tremendous opportunity of development for oriGIn. Geneva, which counts as well with the presence of several intergovernmental organizations and NGOs involved in sustainable development, has the potential to become the international capital of Geographical Indications and Sustainability.
For 2024, our efforts will be focused on strengthening technical support and services to members, reinforcing our links with international and regional institutions dealing with GIs and consolidating the narrative of GIs as an intellectual property right and sustainability tool.
We are ready, with your support, to take on these challenges and continue to ensure a harmonious growth for oriGIn in 2024 and beyond.
Meanwhile, happy holidays to you and your families.
Riccardo Deserti, President and Massimo Vittori, Managing Director, of oriGIn.