WIPO: the Revised Lisbon Agreement, an opportunity for the international protection of GIs
From 27 to 29 October 2014, the last session of the Working Group (WG) on the reform of the Lisbon Agreement on the Protection of Appellations of Origin and their International Registration (Lisbon Agreement) was held in Geneva. The work focused on trying to reduce the differences in views among WIPO Member States on the most controversial provisions, such as the ones concerning registration procedures for Appellations of Origin (AO) and Geographical Indication (GIs), the level protection of AO and GIs protected via the Agreement, other legal effects deriving from the international registration and AO/GIs registration/maintenance fees.
Overall, limited progress was made on these 4 areas and the final version of the Revised Lisbon Agreement on Appellations of Origin and Geographical Indications will have to be agreed upon at the Diplomatic Conference, which will take place in Geneva on 11-21 May 2015.
As in all previous WG meetings, oriGIn participated in this session and insisted on the need to establish a certain and predictable international registry for AO and GIs. In this respect, pragmatic solutions are required. As a way of example, on the issue of whether to make it compulsory for an application under the Revised Lisbon Agreement to contain information on the fundamental characteristics of a AO/GI, we explained that, under the current Lisbon Agreement (as well as under the new system as defined by the WG), a country has the possibility to refuse the protection of a given AO/GI if – in its view – the name contained in the international application does not match the definition of AO/GIs as defined in the Agreement itself. As a result, providing information on the very nature of AO/GIs registered under the Agreement would increase the chances of obtaining the protection in a large number of contracting Parties, which is the very objective of an international registry such the one established by the Lisbon Agreement.
In view of the 2015 Diplomatic Conference, for GI groups it is crucial to have a high and predictable level of protection for AO and GIs protected via the Lisbon Agreement. Likewise, it is important to obtain an international registry open to a large number of countries, far beyond the current 28 Lisbon Agreement contracting parties. As a result, a certain degree of flexibility must be found to accommodate the requests of non-Lisbon Member countries that are showing signs of interest for the Revised Agreement. Among the 2 main contentious issues – level of protection and fees – we recommend a thorough discussion among the oriGIn network, with the objective to agree on which kind of flexibility can be considered acceptable by GI groups.
A full oriGIn report of the WG 10th session is available @ http://www.origin-gi.com/index.php/en/member-area/articles/item/3399-position-papers-en-gb-4.html
Legal: GI recognitions in foreign markets
Recognizing a GI in such foreign markets where export activities are relevant or an export potential is detected, is a crucial objective of GI groups.
On 5 November, the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine of the Government of the People’s Republic of China (AQSIQ) granted protection to the Mexican GI “Tequila”. The process started in May 2013 at the initiative of the Consejo Regulador del Tequila (CRT), with the support of the Mexican Government. With this recognition, there are now 46 countries in which “Tequila” is officially recognized.
On 15 October 2014, the Comité Interprofessionel du Vin de Champagne (CIVC) celebrated the official recognition of “Champagne” in Mongolia. This decision shows Mongolia’s commitment to the concept of GIs and will provide “Champagne” with an effective level of protection in this country. 305 million bottles of Champagne were shipped to 180 countries in 2013.