#OHIM: Members’ Voice – PGI “Café de Colombia” protected against the trademark application “COLOMBUENO” for services, by BERENGUER & POMARES ABOGADOS, associate member of oriGIn
The OHIM’s Opposition Division, in its Decision of February 2, 2015, in the opposition proceedings B 2133828, refused the registration of the Community Trade Mark “COLOMBUENO” in class 43 (‘services for providing food and drink’), due to the conflict with the PGI “Café de Colombia”, as requested by the opponent, the Federación Nacional de Cafeteros de Colombia and its legal representative (Berenguer & Pomares abogados).
The protection granted to PDOs and PGIs against the use of conflicting signs in the course of trade (including with respect to services) is set forth in Art. 13(1) of the Regulation (UE) 1151/2012 on quality schemes for agricultural products and foodstuffs. However, before the case at issue, the OHIM Board of Appeal had denied this kind of protection with respect to trade marks conflicting with PDOs/PGIs. So far, to deny such trade mark applications, the OHIM had required them to cover the same type of product of the PDO/PGI at issue, as an additional requirement imposed by Art. 14 of the aforementioned Regulation (UE) 1151/2012.
Through this recent Decision, the OHIM took a different approach. The reinforced protection granted to PDOs and PGIs pursuant to Art. 13(1) of the Regulation (UE) 1151/2012 was considered directly applicable to opposition procedures against the registration of trade marks conflicting with PDOs/PGIs, based on Art. 8(4) of the CTMR which deals with oppositions based on signs other than trade marks.
In particular, the OHIM Opposition Division considered the existence of a link between the food and beverage services object of the trade mark application and the PGI product (coffee), to the extent that consumers may expect that in an establishment named “COLOMBUENO”, “Café de Colombia” is served. Furthermore, the Opposition Division considered that the protection granted to the PGI against the registration of trade marks for services is effective not only in cases of direct use of the protected name (Café de Colombia), but also in cases of its evocation (COLOMBUENO).
With this Decision, the OHIM puts on the same level the scope of protection granted to PDOs and PGIs in the course of trade and the one provided in the framework of trademark opposition proceedings. This represents a coherent application of the relevant European law on GIs. In this respect, over the last few years, oriGIn had sent several letters to OHIM considering the need to look at Art. 14 of Regulation (UE) 1151 in conjunction with Art. 13 of the same Regulation, as the only possible coherent application of the law (See GIs &Trademarks ).
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#T-TIP: Discussions on GIs continues
On 19 February the EU Commissioner of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr. Phil Hogan, participated in Washington DC in the USDA Outlook Forum on “Smart Agriculture in the 21st Century”, organized by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). In his speech, Mr. Hogan, presented the EU agriculture model and its benefits, underlining the importance of GIs as a key driver for economic development in rural areas. He stressed that American producers already benefit from GIs, from Napa Valley to the potato growers of Idaho, and that the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP) could be an opportunity for economic growth on both sides of the Atlantic. Read Mr. Hogan’s speech
Meanwhile, on 24 February, the Members of the EU Parliament discussed a draft report prepared by Mr. Bernd LANGE (S&D, DE), Rapporteur and Chairman in Committee on International Trade (ComINTA), containing the Parliament’s recommendations to the Commission on the trade talks with the US on the T-TIP. The Rapporteur’s draft recommendations call for a comprehensive, balanced and high-standard agreement, including an ambitious Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) chapter which will ensure enhanced protection and recognition of EU GIs. (See Draft Report, recommendation d) point XV). Along the same line, Mr. Paolo de CASTRO (S&D, IT) and Mr. James NICHOLSON (ECR, UK), Rapporteurs in Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development (ComAGRI), presented a draft opinion to ComINTA on the Parliament’s Recommendations, urging improved protection of EU GIs and better consumer information as an essential element of a balanced agreement. (See The Draft opinion ). The deadline for tabling amendments to Rapporteur’s draft recommendations is 26 March. The EU Parliament is expected to adopt the text in plenary session in May 2015.
With respect to T-TIP, oriGIn most recent position was taken following the 8th negotiating round, which took place in Brussels earlier this month. Read the oriGIn Press release
#Trainings: InterGI 2015
The international training program “InterGI 2015”, organized by REDD and CIRAD, will take place in Switzerland. Two training sessions are scheduled in 2015, the first in spring (18-29 May) and the second in autumn (September 21-October 2nd).
The training program provides knowledge on GI system in Europe and Switzerland and its impact on sustainable rural development and includes presentations from representatives of GI groups, stakeholders, experts as well as visits on the field.
More information and registration @ www.intergi.org