Geographical indications provide robust protection to local producers, but can raise issues for applicants looking to sell legitimate competing products. Sarah Morgan finds out more.
How can we best safeguard the rights of good-faith applicants seeking to protect genuinely unique terms while keeping in check market-distorting efforts by those seeking to use geographical indication (GI) systems to block out existing global competition?
The interplay of these two opposing concerns and how they are evolving in regions across the globe will be the focus of CSA25 Geographical Indications Around the World (Saturday, 1:30 pm—2:45 pm).
Overall, session attendees will learn how different regions of the world are approaching and solving the issues presented by global trade, and the tension that ensues from GIs and trademarks—with both needing to be addressed in a manner that balances the competing interests, says James Tumbridge, Partner at Venner Shipley LLP (UK), who is moderating the panel.
Shawna Morris, Senior Director at the Consortium for Common Food Names (USA), adds: "Those interested in GI issues or whose companies rely on the use of commonly-used food terms as they market their products should be interested in the discussion to learn what types of new limitations are emerging as well as the types of tools available to safeguard their interests—whichever side of the fence they are on.”
Ms. Morris will provide an overview of the key GI-related developments in the United States and Canada in recent years, which she says have largely been driven by trade agreements.
“If you deal with brands or rights in the food and beverage industry, or trade impacted by GIs, then this is an invaluable session for you.” - James Trumbridge, Partner at Venner Shipley LLP
Turning to Africa, Andrew Papadopoulos, Director at Kisch IP (South Africa), will outline developments across the continent, as well as address the challenges in protecting, managing, and promoting GIs in Africa.
"The economic and commercial gain and benefit to be derived from the protection of GIs in Africa will give African countries a natural competitive advantage, as well as provide awareness regarding the importance in social upliftment for rural development," says Mr. Papadopoulos.
Work is underway in a number of African countries to identify "unique and distinctive products that are suitable for marketing by reference to their geographical origins," he adds.
According to Mr. Papadopoulos, there's a huge potential to protect and manage GIs in Africa, which in turn will meet a range of social, economic, and environmental objectives and goals.
Elio De Tullio, Managing Partner of De Tullio & Partners (Italy), will focus on GIs across the European Union, providing insight into the different scenarios for GI protection after Brexit, and the latest jurisprudence of the EU Court of Justice in connection with evocation.
Along with looking back at how the interaction between trademarks and GIs have evolved over the past 30 years, the session will "debate and give updates and insights on the most controversial aspects concerning the interaction," he says.
Also speaking on the topic are Guizeng (Wayne) Liu, Partner at Yuanhe Partners (China), and Julian Vadillo, Director of Intellectual Property at Agency Firma, SC (Mexico).
For more information on INTA’s activities related to GIs, see the dedicated topic portal at https://bit.ly/2JCZPt8.
geographical indication, competing products, safeguard, trade agreements, rural development, European Union, brands, food and drink, EU Court of Justice