oriGIn Alerts 12 January 2018: #GenevaAct #LisbonAgreement #WIPO #EU #Japan #EPA

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#GenevaAct #LisbonAgreement #WIPO: EU accession to the Geneva Act of Lisbon Agreement on Appellations of Origin and Geographical Indications

The EU is preparing the accession to the Geneva Act of Lisbon Agreement on Appellations of Origin and Geographical Indications: https://ec.europa.eu/info/law/better-regulation/initiatives/ares-2017-6308027_en 

oriGIn is in favour of the accession by the EU of the Geneva Act of the Lisbon Agreement. The Geneva Act formally includes GIs under the scope of application of the Lisbon Agreement, which now provides a solid level of protection for all products’ names (appellations of origin and GIs) with unique characteristics linked to their geographical environment. Likewise, the Geneva Act also introduces elements of flexibility in the Lisbon Agreement, which makes it attractive for a variety of legal systems.

Several WIPO Member States are waiting from a strong signal from the EU. The EU accession might open the door to several other ones, laying the foundations for the establishment of a truly international registry for appellations of origin and GIs. oriGIn therefore encourages:

  • EU members to give their positive feed-back to the EU, expressing their support for the EU accession to the Geneva Act of Lisbon Agreement;
  • Non EU-members to write to their national authorities and support the accession of their country to the Geneva Act of Lisbon Agreement. 


#EU #Japan #EPA: the EU and Japan concluded free trade Agreement

In December 2017, the EU and Japan agreed on the terms for a free trade Agreement – the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA).

On the positive side, the EPA provides:

  • A high level of protection for more than 200 EU GIs in Japan, as well as for a number Japanese GIs in the EU (Annex XY – List of Geographical Indications): see articles 22 to 26;
  • Enforcement mechanisms: see article 28 and articles 40 to 51.

On the negative side, the EPA provides:

  • “Exceptions” to the protection of some EU GIs (phasing out for prior uses and protection exclusively for the compound GI name and not in respect of individual terms), see article 29, which might generate legal uncertainty;
  • The relationship GIs/trademarks in art. 27 : “The parties shall, where a geographical indication is protected, refuse to register a trademark the use of which would be likely to mislead as to the quality of the product…”. The refusal to register a trademark only when it is “likely to mislead as to the quality of the product” provides a very limited scope and represents a lower standard compared to other FTAs.

As the text will undergo the process of legal revision (the so-called “legal scrubbing”), oriGIn will push the commission to improve some of the above-mentioned negative aspects of the EPA.



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