oriGIn Alerts 08 February 2016: #OAPI #Mongolia #Calvados #Verlados

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#OAPI: the GIs logo Regulation

In January 2016, at a seminar held in Yaoundé in Cameroun, the African Intellectual Property Organization (OAPI) discussed its Regulation on the use on the Geographical Indications (GIs) logo. The Regulation had been adopted by the OAPI in December 2015 and the GI logo back in 2011. This completes the protection of GIs within the OAPI, which is regulated by Annex VI of the Bangui Agreement. Its objectives are to add value to the diversity of natural, agricultural, handcraft and industrial products within the 17 Member States as well as to give greater visibility to geographical names that identify such products, while ensuring their protection.

In the framework of cooperation projects, the OAPI also supports GI producers, helps the actors of the value chain to get organized and participates in the establishment of national committees. In this context, in 2014 three GIs from Member States were recognized: “poivre de Penja” and “miel blanc d’Oku” (Cameroun) as well as “café Ziama-Macenta” (Guinee) – the latter is a member of oriGIn. Two foreign GIs have also been registered in the OAPI: Champagne and Scotch Whisky.

oriGIn, who will finalize this year a practice guide on GI protection within the OAPI, welcome the improvements on the protection of GIs in West Africa.

More information (only in French) @: http://www.oapi.int/index.php/fr/toute-lactualite/577-a-lecole-du-logo-des-igp-de-loapi


#Mongolia: Cooperation on GIs

Mongolia has several traditional products that stem from its nomadic culture and its continental climate. Since the entry into force of the national GI legislation in 2004, 24 products’ names, such as Savannah mutton meat and Gobi camel wool, have been registered by the Intellectual Property Office of Mongolia (IPOM).

To improve its GI system, Mongolia is currently involved in several cooperation programs. One of them, ran by the French Ministry of Agriculture, supports the national competent authorities (including the Mongolian National Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which is a member of oriGIn) in setting-up a GI for the sea buckthorn of the Uvs province. The project includes the finalization of the product specification and organization of a control system involving both producers and public authorities. This project – started in 2014 – will continue this year.

More information @ http://www.mncttf.gov.mn/en/index.php/news/363-2015-12-21-111057


#Calvados #Verlados: the CJEU clarifies the concept of GI evocation

This judgment is interesting because deals with the concept of evocation under Article 16(b) of the EU Spirit Drinks Regulation (EC, No 110/2008) in relation to “Verlados”, a Finnish cider spirit. The issue is whether such name could evoke the French cider spirit GI “Calvados”. The Finnish Court which dealt with the case had referred several questions to the CJEU.

The background is the following: Viiniverla, established in Verla (Finland), has manufactured and marketed cider spirits named “Verlados” since 2001. Following a complaint of the European Commission, in 2013 the Finnish authorities stated that the drink named “Verlados” is a local product whose name refers directly to the place of its manufacture, that is to say the village of Verla and the Verla winery. They added that the names “Calvados” and “Verlados” have only their last syllable in common, which is insufficient in the light of the case-law to establish an evocation.

According to the CJEU, when judging an evocation, national courts must consider that the protection provided by Article 16(b) Spirit Drinks Regulation should be interpreted in a way which satisfies the regulation’s objectives of preventing deceptive practices, market transparency, fair competition and a high level of consumer protection. In particular:

  • Assessing the existence of evocation does not require for the names at issue to be phonetically and visually identical. This is just one factor which could lead to evocation.
  • There may be evocation even if the true origin of the product is indicated (paragraph 43).
  • There may be evocation even in the absence of any likelihood of confusion between the products concerned (paragraph 45).
  • It was irrelevant that Verlados was sold locally and in small quantities because the regulation applies to all spirit drinks placed on the market in the European Union (paragraphs 46/47).

Read the full judgment (which contains interesting elements also with respect to the concepts of similar products and average consumers in the framework of GI infringements). 





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