At the beginning of October, during the Fifty-Ninth Series of Meetings of the WIPO Assemblies in Geneva, Samoa and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea joined the Geneva Act of the Lisbon Agreement on Appellations of Origin and Geographical Indications.
Meanwhile, following a positive vote in the European Parliament plenary session, the Council adopted a decision authorising the EU accession to the Geneva Act as well as a regulation on how the EU will operate as a member of this treaty.
Both the decision and the regulation will enter into force 20 days after their publication in the Official Journal. Three months later, the EU will officially join the Geneva Act. As a result, the system will work in the following way:
- Together with the EU, individual Member States will have the possibility accede to the Geneva Act. This will allow them to benefit from the voting right within the union which will govern the treaty. The Geneva Act provides that contracting parties that are intergovernmental organizations, such as the EU, will have number of votes equal to the number of its Member States which are party to it;
- Member States which are contracting parties to the Lisbon Agreement will remain as such to ensure the continuity of their rights and obligations. However, under the Lisbon Agreement, they will not be able to register new appellations of origin for products falling within the scope of the existing EU GIs Regulations;
- The European Commission will be responsible to establish a list of EU appellations of origin and geographical indications and file applications under the Geneva Act. Such applications will be based on notifications from Member States acting on their own initiative or upon the request of the beneficiaries. In doing so, Member States should take into account the production and export value of appellations of origin and geographical indications, their protection under other agreements as well as existing infringements in third countries;
- Likewise, the Commission will assess whether the conditions are met for the protection in the EU of third countries’ names registered under the Geneva Act;
- Fees will be paid by the Member States in which the registered geographical indications and appellations of origin originate. Member States will have the option to require the beneficiaries to pay some or all such fees;
- The EU will give the WIPO a financial contribution to support the implementation of the Geneva Act.
Since 2015, oriGIn has been campaigning to convince the WIPO Member States to accede to the Geneva Act of the Lisbon Agreement, including at its 2019 Biannual meeting. As a result, we are glad to see a growing number of countries joining the system, which is poised to enter into force early next year. This will be a crucial step towards the establishment of a truly international registry for GIs and a strong message for open & rules-based international trade.
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For more information about oriGIn campaigns at WIPO see the respective category in the section Policy and Advocacy