#Japan: New GI Law and implications in the bilateral negotiations with the EU
Since March 2012, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) of Japan has been working to establish a sui generis system for agricultural GIs. “The Act for Protection of Designated Agricultural, Forestry and Fishery Products and Foodstuffs” (the GI Act) – promulgated in June 2014 (Act No. 84, 2014) – entered in to force on 1 June 2015.
The main features of the GI Act are as follows:
- GIs are defined as a names used to identify agricultural, forestry, fishery, food and beverage products (with the exception of alcoholic beverages, drugs and cosmetics), originating from a place, a region or the all country. Such products must have a specific quality, reputation or other characteristics attributable to their geographical origin;
- Groups of producers can submit GI applications to the MAFF. An opposition procedure is provided;
- Once registered, any member of the group of producers which submitted the application can use the GI;
- The effect of registration is indefinite in time, provided that relevant group of producers remains operational and the specific product’s quality maintained;
- Based on the Ministerial Decree implementing the GI Act, the level of protection for registered GIs will be similar to article 23 of the TRIPS Agreement, reflecting an ongoing trend in national legislations;
- Some level of administrative enforcement is provided, with the MAFF empowered to issue administrative orders in case of unlawful use of GIs;
- Finally, based on the English translation art. 13 of the GI Act, the coexistence between GIs and pre-existing trademarks is not allowed without the consent of trademark owners (even though art. 3.3(2) of the same Act might suggest otherwise).
The GI Act is available on the House of Representatives website (in Japanese) @ http://www.shugiin.go.jp/internet/itdb_gian.nsf/html/gian/honbun/houan/g18605081.htm
An English traslation of the GI Act is included in a Report of the USDA Foreign Agricultural Affairs
An explanation in English is available on the MAFF Website @ http://www.maff.go.jp/e/japan_food/topics/150529.html
Meanwhile, the negotiations for a free trade agreement (FTA), which contain a GI chapter, between Japan and the EU continue. The President of the EU Commission, Mr. Jean-Claude JUNCKER, recently mentioned that the effective protection of GIs as a priority for the EU. The next round of negotiations should take place from 6 to 10 July in Brussels and it will clarify whether the recently implemented GI Act will have any implication on the negotiations.
More information @ http://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/meetings/international-summit/2015/05/29/
#Tequila&Cachaza: Mutual recognition
At the end of May, at the occasion of the official visit to Mexico of Dilma Roussef, President of Brazil, the two countries agreed to provide mutual recognition to two of their most famous GIs: “Tequila” (Mexico) and “Caçhaza” (Brazil).
Tequila is now protected in 47 countries. Malaysia might follow soon, as the “Consejo Regulador del Tequila” (CRT) has applied for protection there to fight infringements of the GI Tequila in such a market.
More information (in Spanish) @ http://www.milenio.com/negocios/Jalisco-celebra_reconocimiento-denominacion-Brasil-tequila_0_529147240.html
#NonAgri: News from France and Colombia
On 3 June 2015, following the publication of Decree n° 2015-595 of 2 June 2015, the GI system for manufactured products and natural resources is now operational in France. French GI groups (representing producers of non-agricultural GIs) can now submit a request a recognition at the “Institut national de la propriété industrielle” (INPI). The relevant Law (Consumer Law No 2014-344) had been adopted on 17 March 2014.
For more information (in French) @ http://www.economie.gouv.fr/indications-geographiques-produits-manufactures
Meanwhile, on 4 June “Sombrero Suaza” became the 22nd GIs recognised in Colombia. This traditional hat is hand-manufactured in the area of the river Suaza, in the Department of Huila, using a special straw derived from natural fibers of the Iraca palm, typical of this region.
More information (In Spanish) @ http://www.lanacion.com.co/index.php/economica/item/253211-con-el-sombrero-suaza-huila-lider-en-denominaciones-de-origen
#MembersVoice: International Symposium on “The Territorialized Agri-Food Systems (TAS): Source of Diversity and Tool for Integration and Competitiveness” by Anne-Marie Granger Godbout, President and Director of CARTV
The “Conseil des appellations réservées et des termes valorisants” (CARTV), an oriGIn associate member, cooperates with the recently established “Legal Research Chair in Food Diversity and Security” of the Laval University (Quebec, Canada) – more info @ http://www.chaire-diversite-alimentaire.ulaval.ca/fr This partnership aims at developing legal expertise on GIs in Quebec, in Canada and at the international level. Likewise, it aims at raising awareness on GIs as a legal tool to contribute to promote and preserve products as well as a food system that feed people and boost the economy of Quebec.
An in-depth debate as well as an opportunity for information sharing in October in Quebec!
The CARTV is pleased to invite the members of oriGIn as well as its partners to the international symposium on “The Territorialized Agri-Food Systems: Source of Diversity and Tool for Integration and Competitiveness (TAS): Source of Diversity and Tool for Integration and Competitiveness” , which will take place at the Laval University, Québec City, on 1 & 2 October 2015.
The symposium is organized in cooperation with the Research Chair, the UNESCO Chair and the Unitwin Network on world food systems, Montpellier SupAgro (program available @ http://www.colloque-sat.com/).
The objective of such an initiative is to present the concept of TAS from the perspective of the American continent as well as to discuss the economic and legal tools promoting food diversity as well as the development of local food systems. All this, by strengthening the sharing of knowledge and cooperation within the American continent as well as in the Americas and Europe.
It will be a pleasure to welcome you to share experience and perspectives. And for you, it will be an opportunity to visit Quebec during one of the most beautiful colourful periods, the Indian summer!