Today’s entry into force of the WIPO Geneva Act on Appellations of Origin and Geographical Indications, three months after the accession of the European Union (EU), represents a milestone for GIs. The establishment of an international registry for all GIs has always been a priority for oriGIn and its members, which have been deeply involved in the process which led to the adoption of the Geneva Act since WIPO launched the Working Group on the development of the Lisbon System back in 2009.
Following six years of discussion in the Working Group, the Lisbon Agreement for the Protection of Appellations of Origin and their International Registration was modernized in 2015 with the adoption of its Geneva Act. Such reform:
- Introduced Geographical Indications under the treaty scope of application (art. 2), previously limited to Appellations of Origin;
- Provided a solid the level of protection (strengthened compared to the Lisbon Agreement) for both Geographical Indications and Appellations of Origin (art 11). The protection of names now extends to their use on goods that are not of the same kind as those to which the Appellation of Origin or Geographical Indication applies and on services, provided that such use impairs or dilutes in an unfair manner, or take unfair advantage of the reputation of an Appellation of Origin or Geographical Indication;
- Kept the principle of one unique application for an Appellation of Origin or Geographical Indication – made through WIPO – following which contracting parties have one year to analyze it and give or refuse protection to an Appellation of Origin or Geographical Indication in its jurisdiction (art. 5);
- Clarified the relations with prior trademark rights, in line with international norms and jurisprudence (art. 13);
- Gave the possibility to intergovernmental organizations to become contracting parties (art. 28.1.iii);
- Introduced more flexibility in terms of filing applications (groups and beneficiaries are now allowed to file an international application under certain circumstances, art. 5.3) and fees, which make the Geneva Act a treaty attractive for a variety of legal systems and traditions.
The international registry established by the Geneva Act facilitates the protection of Geographical Indications and Appellations of Origin in foreign jurisdictions, thereby increasing legal certainty in international trade for producers, transformers, distributors and consumers. In this respect, the entry into force of the Geneva Act represents a strong message for open and rules-based trade.
oriGIn encourages all WIPO Member States to join the WIPO Geneva Act of the Lisbon Agreement on Appellations of Origin and Geographical Indications.