Industry Group Nears Completion Of List Of Geographical Indications Worldwide 14/04/2017 by Catherine Saez, Intellectual Property Watch 1 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)A private sector project to identify and compile all geographical indications in the world in a database is expected to be completed in the fall. The compilation is aimed at helping intellectual property professionals, trademark owners, and other users in their decision-making, and will be freely available, according to the organization for an international Geographical Indications Network (oriGIn). There is currently no international register of GIs. Alongside the 37th session of the World Intellectual Property Organization Standing Committee on the Law of Trademarks, Industrial Designs and Geographical Indications (SCT) on 27 March, oriGIn organised an event [pdf] to present progress achieved on the GI project started in 2011. Some 8,000 GIs have been identified by oriGIn as being recognised in the world. Geographical indications (GIs) are names on products that have specific geographical oriGIn and derive particular qualities or a reputation due to that oriGIn. Famous GIs are gruyere cheese and tequila. The Project of Worldwide GI Compilation aims at filling an information gap. According to the oriGIn website, the European Union databases DOOR for agricultural GIS, E-Bacchus for wines, and E-Spirit-Drinks provide detailed information on European and foreign GIs in those three types of products protected in the EU member states. There is no centralised source of information at the EU level for non-agricultural GIs. In many countries, such as countries in Africa and Southeast Asia, information on protected GIs is not available, and in countries using trademarks to protect geographical names, GI lists are not available, according to oriGIn. According to oriGIn, it benefits from an international network of producers’ associations and specialists. OriGIn communicates regularly with a number of GI groups and national authorities worldwide, and has worked with the University of California, Berkeley law school to study the trademarks, collective and certification marks in force in the US. The ones corresponding to the GI internationally recognised definition were selected, the oriGIn website says. The compilation lists protected GIs in alphabetical order, and provides indication such as the country of oriGIn, the category of product, the type of legal protection, and third countries where GIs are protected through a bilateral agreement. After its completion foreseen for the fall of 2017, the compilation will be freely available on the oriGIn’s website, Massimo Vittori, managing director of origin, said at the side event. According to the oriGIn website, donors for the compilation are the Ministry of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies of Italy, the Swiss Federal Office for Agriculture, and the Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property. At the side event, Vittori said that some 5,410 GIs are currently included in the compilation. An effort was made to include not only sui generis systems, but also trademarks, he said, adding that the purpose of the compilation is not to establish a binding register. The register has only an information purpose. Sophio Mujri, deputy chairperson, National Intellectual Property Center of Georgia, underlined the importance of GIs for Georgian products, in terms of added value and export potential. She also noted that a compilation would be helpful for IP offices and stakeholders. Some 130 potential GIs have been identified in Georgia, she said. Esteban Rubio, senior lawyer for Colombian Coffee, said there are over 560,000 coffee growers in Colombia. He said his organisation would like to promote the accession by Colombia to the Lisbon Agreement for the Protection of Appellations of Origin and their International Registration. The Lisbon Agreement has a 2015 act extending its coverage to geographical indications: the Geneva Act of the Lisbon Agreement on Appellations of Origin and Geographical Indications. Rubio said the accession of Colombia to the Lisbon Agreement would help Colombia protect the interests of coffee growers. Francesco Sciarra, trademark attorney at Bird & Bird and chair of the GI team of Marques, the European association representing the interests of trademark owners, underlined the complexity of the GI landscape. GI, contrary to trademarks, have no support for global harmonised recognition at the international level, he said. GI policies are scattered across different treaties, national laws, regional laws, and bilateral trade agreements, which makes it very difficult for trademark owners to have a global picture of GIs in given jurisdictions, he explained. Brand owners need to get information about GIs, he said, and to monitor trademark and potential GI applications for names that can potentially conflict with a trademark. IP professionals need a reliable tool to provide legal advice, and the compilation project can provide that tool, he added. Image Credits: Flickr – Andi Wright 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."Industry Group Nears Completion Of List Of Geographical Indications Worldwide" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.