#gTLDs #UDRP #Rioja: Another surprising WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center administrative panel decision
Last May, the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center issued an administrative panel decision (sole panelist) in the Case No. D2018-0168 concerning the disputed domain name “rioja.com”. The case opposed the Regulatory Board of the PDO Rioja, which contested the disputed domain, and Domain Hostmaster, which had registered it.
Following the Uniform Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution Policy (UDRP) case law, the GI title over the name “rioja”, which is a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) under Regulation (EU) No 1308/2013 (including unregistered trade mark rights) was not considered valid by the panelist to file a complaint. As the Rioja Regulatory Board had also based its claim upon various registered trade marks, the complaint was admitted: the complainant has trade mark rights and the disputed domain name is identical of confusingly similar to such trade mark, as requested to admit a case by the current UDRP rules . When assessing the bad faith of the domain name registration, though, the panelist surprisingly did not found arguments proving that the registration was made to target the Rioja Regulatory Board trade mark. Even considering that “rioja.com” was inactive at the time of the decision and admitting that this raises questions as to whether Domain Hostmaster removed the domain as a defensive step, the panelist considered that the domain name “rioja.com” was registered purely for its geographical meaning. As a result, Domain Hostmaster kept the domain name “rioja.com”, which as of 18 June 2018, was still inactive. The administrative panel decision is available @ http://www.wipo.int/amc/en/domains/search/text.jsp?case=D2018-0168
This decision confirms the urgent need to update the UDRP and consider GIs a valid title to file a claim. Likewise, it is urgent to monitor the application of the current UDRP to make sure that GIs protected also by a trade mark are not “discriminated” by raising artificially the threshold to prove “bad faith” domain name registrations (on this, see also case No. D2017-0253 concerning “gorgonzola.city”).
These issues were discussed at the end of May at the 2018 INTA Annual Meeting in Seattle, were oriGIn Director Massimo Vittori spoke in favor of GIs protection in the domain names’ space (find here his presentation). Speakers included Charles Goemaere, Deputy General Director at Comite Champagne, Mary Wong, Senior Policy Director at ICANN, Scott Gerien, Partner at Dickenson Peatman & Fogarty, Jonathan Agmon, Senior Partner at Soroker Agmon Nordman, Advocates & Patent Attorneys, and Francine Tan, Director at Francine Tan Law Corporation.
#Switzerland #Georgia #Bilaterals: Conclusion of a bilateral agreement on the protection of GIs
On 31 May, Georgia and Switzerland have signed a bilateral agreement on the protection of GIs.
This “stand-alone GIs agreement” follows a free trade agreement between the EFTA States (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland) and Georgia – entered into force on 1 May 2018 – which provides a general framework for the solid protection of GIs.
Following a practice in recent bilateral agreements concluded by Switzerland (like the one with Russia in 2010 and the one with Jamaica on 2013), this “stand-alone GIs agreement” provides for an exchange of a list of GIs and other geographical names (country as well as regions’ names) from both parties, to be recognized and protected in the counterpart’s jurisdiction. For Switzerland, it covers GIs such as Emmentaler, Gruyère, Swiss chocolate and Swiss watches (together with Switzerland, the Swiss cross and the names of the cantons). For Georgia, the agreement includes, among others, GIs such as Kakheti (wine), Sulguni (cheese) and Borjomi (mineral water). The Switzerland/Georgia “stand-alone GIs agreement” will enter into force following the ratification from the national Parliaments.
#Sustainability #CafédeColombia: FNC receives Rainforest Alliance Sustainable Standard-Setters Award
Last May, the Colombian Coffee Growers Federation (FNC), which represents today over 540,000 coffee-growing families, received the Rainforest Alliance Sustainable Standard-Setters Award for its commitment to sustainability, improving coffee farmers’ livelihoods and conserving forests. The Rainforest Alliance is an international NGO standing for the biodiversity and conservation of sustainable livelihoods. See more information about the award.
As mentioned in the oriGIn/FAO Sustainability Strategy for GIs sustainability is crucial for GIs for at least 3 reasons:
- GIs cannot switch production elsewhere (no delocalisation is possible). As a result, more than in other sectors, resources and natural capital should be conserved for the GI to continue to exist and thrive in the medium/long term, so to ensure the economic viability as well.
- GIs are an integral part of the community in a given territory. They have to consider the local society´s aspirations and expectations, as well as interact with local authorities and regulators. The ability of GIs to generate value to local stakeholders is a key factor of their success.
- Over the last few years, to respond to consumers’ and investors’ pressure, the private sector has been developing sustainability requirements for their suppliers, which in many occasions are related to third party certifications or client audits. This trend responds to a society that has become more demanding on companies and brands and expect them to contribute to society at large.