EC welcomes agreement to better protect geographical indications
The European Parliament, the Council and the Commission have reached a political agreement on the rules that lay down how the EU will operate as a member of the Geneva Act, a multilateral treaty for the protection of geographical indications managed by the World Intellectual Property Organization.
Phil Hogan, Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, yesterday said:
"With this political agreement, EU geographical indications can have improved protection at multilateral level. It will complement the protection granted through bilateral agreements that already protects EU geographical indications across the world."
The Geneva Act modernises the 1958 Lisbon Agreement for the Protection of Appellations of Origin and their International Registration and allows international organisations, such as the European Union, to join. The Lisbon Agreement, which currently comprises 28 members including seven EU Member States, offers a way to secure protection for appellations of origin (AO) through a single registration. Being a member of the Geneva Act will allow EU geographical indications to get high-level protection in the future with other parties to the Geneva Act.
The draft regulation agreed will now go for formal endorsement by the European Parliament and the Council. Once that happens, the EU would be ready to formally join the Geneva Act through a separate decision.
Geographical indications (GIs) designate a product originating from a specific geographical area with qualities or characteristics that are essentially linked to the geographical origin, including natural and human factors. Geographical indications also serve to distinguish and reinforce cultural contributions and reward the creativity of traditional know-how. A term registered as protected geographical indication (PGI), or protected designation of origin (PDO) can therefore only be used by producers located in the designated area.
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