On 9 July, the Council of the EU adopted its decision on the signature of the stand-alone GIs Agreement between the European Union and the government of the People’s Republic of China. The agreement was then signed by the EU and China on 14 September.
The main points of Agreement are the following (please find here its text, including its Annexes):
- At the entry into force of the Agreement, 100 GIs from each party (Annex III and Annex IV) will be protected in the counterpart’s jurisdiction;
- The protection granted to GIs is solid, including if a GI name is used with the indication of the true origin of the goods or in translation, transcription or transliteration, or accompanied by expressions such as “kind”, “type”, “style”, “imitation” or the like (Art. 4). The refusal of trademark applications consisting in a GI protected under the Agreement is also provided (Art. 6.1, 6.2 and 6.3);
- The principle of co-existence with legitimate earlier trademarks is provided (Art.6.4);
- An additional list of 175 GIs from both sides will be protected within the 4 years after the entry into force of the agreement (Annex V and Annex VI). Likewise a list of Chinese handicraft GIs (Annex VII) might be protected in the future depending on the legislative development of the Parties (see Art. 1.2, where the parties agreed to consider extending the Agreement scope of protection to non-agricultural GIs after its entry into force).
The Agreement can now be signed by the parties. Following this, it will need the consent of both Parliaments before it can enter into force. It will also be crucial to follow how this stand-alone GIs Agreement will interact with the US and China economic trade agreement, by which China should ensure that any measures taken in connection with pending or future requests from any other trading partner for recognition or protection of a geographical indication pursuant to an international agreement do not undermine market access for U.S. exports to China of goods and services using trademarks and generic terms (Art. 1.15.1).
To follow oriGIn activities and information on bilateral agreements covering GIs, please look at the dedicated page of our website