European Commission Moves On Adoption Of WIPO GI Treaty; Timeframe Uncertain 12/09/2018 by Catherine Saez, Intellectual Property Watch Leave a Comment Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Over two years after a group of World Intellectual Property Organization members adopted a treaty on the protection of geographical indications, the European Commission has recommended that the European Union join the treaty. The EU was one of the major proponents of the treaty. Separately, a geographical indications industry group is urging EU attention to be placed on the need for legal certainty after the exit of the United Kingdom from the EU. Queso Manchego In May 2015 at WIPO, the 28 members of the Lisbon Agreement for the Protection of Appellations of Origin and their International Registration adopted the Geneva Act of the Lisbon Agreement on Appellations of Origin and Geographical Indications. The Geneva Act basically extends the protection to all geographical indications, not only to appellations of origin, and allows accession by international organisations, such as the EU. According to a European Commission July press release, seven out of the 28 members of the Lisbon Agreement are EU member states. “Once the EU joins, it will enable the rapid, high-level and indefinite protection of European GIs in all current and future parties belonging to the Geneva Act,” it said. The proposal for the EU membership is before the EU Council of member states, a European Commission source told Intellectual Property Watch. The proposal also has to be approved by the European Parliament. In parallel, the source, said, the Council and the Parliament need to adopt the proposed regulation for implementation of the agreement under the ordinary legislative procedure. “The timeframe is therefore in the hands of the co-legislators,” the source added. The Geneva Act has only been acceded to by Cambodia so far, and has been signed but not ratified by 15 other countries. Asked about why it took over two years for the EU Commission to propose ratification the Geneva Act, the source said, “The process of preparing the Commission proposal for the EU to join the Geneva Act of the Lisbon Agreement was legally lengthy but has been following its due course.” “The benefit of the Geneva Act would be not only in the high level of protection,” the source argued, “but particularly the protection of registered GIs in a harmonised way across the whole membership of the agreement through a single registration. The Geneva Act could be a catalyst for further development of international rules and cooperation on GIs around the world.” The European Commission proposed that the EU accede to the Geneva Act as a single entity, the source said, following the voting rights included in the Geneva Act that state, “any Contracting Party that is an intergovernmental organization may vote, in place of its member States, with a number of votes equal to the number of its member States which are party to this Act.” Brexit Negotiators Called on to Preserve GIs Separately, the Organisation for an International Geographical Indications Network (oriGIn) is calling for legal certainty as the United Kingdom is set to leave the EU on 30 March 2019. According to a press release, the Brexit should not jeopardise the level of protection of UK GIs, such as Scotch whiskey and Stilton cheese domestically and in the future 27-member EU, and the same should apply to existing EU GIs, such as champagne, “queso Manchego” Grappa and “Bayerisches bier”. OriGin President Claude Vermot-Desroches in the release called for Brexit negotiators “to preserve GIs,” as a category of IP rights, “which generates significant economic, social and environmental value for producers, transformers, and distributors.” Image Credits: Flickr – Paz MartÃn Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Related Catherine Saez may be reached at email@example.com."European Commission Moves On Adoption Of WIPO GI Treaty; Timeframe Uncertain" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.