EU to accede to international agreement on appellations of origin and geographical indications
The EU is acceding to the Geneva Act of the Lisbon Agreement for the protection of appellations of origin and their international registration ('the Geneva Act").
Member states' ambassadors meeting in Coreper today approved the agreement reached by the Romanian presidency of the Council with the European Parliament on a draft regulation enabling the EU to exercise its rights and fulfil its obligations as a contracting party after this accession.
The Geneva Act of the Lisbon Agreement is a treaty administered by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). It expands the scope of the Lisbon Agreement to cover not only appellations of origin but also geographical indications and allows international organisations (such as the EU) to become party to the Lisbon Union established under the Lisbon Agreement.
Each contracting party is obliged to protect on its territory the appellations of origin and geographical indications of products originating in other contracting parties.
The EU has exclusive competence for the areas covered by the Geneva Act. However, member states are authorised to accede to the Geneva Act alongside the EU and in the interest of the EU in order to ensure the EU's voting rights.
After its endorsement by the European Parliament's Legal Affairs committee, the regulation will be adopted by the European Parliament and by the Council. Adoption by the Council will take place simultaneously with the adoption of the Council decision authorising the EU's accession to the Geneva Act once the European Parliament has given its consent.
Seven EU member states are contracting parties to the Lisbon Agreement: Bulgaria (since 1975), Czech Republic (since 1993), Slovakia (since 1993), France (since 1966), Hungary (since 1967), Italy (since 1968) and Portugal (since 1966). Three EU member states have signed but not ratified the Agreement (Greece, Romania and Spain). The EU itself is not a contracting party as the Lisbon Agreement only provides for membership of States, not international organisations.
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