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  1. EU systems for the Protection and Enforcementof GIs WIPO-SAKPATENTIInternational Conference on Protection of Geographical Indications and Appellations of OriginTbilisi, November 12-14, 2012Massimo Vittori, Managing Director

  2. Summary • Relevant EU Regulations on GIs • The EU Bilateral Trade Agreements and GIs • oriGIn: the Global Alliance of GI Producers

  3. I. Relevant EU Regulations on GIs • Agricultural products and foodstuff (Regulation No 510/2006) • Wines (Regulation No 479/2008) • Spirits (Regulation No 110/2008) • Non Agricultural GIs? Not yet harmonized at the EU level

  4. The GI Sector in the EU: Agricultural Products and Foodstuff • Over 1,000 product names registered • Cheese, beer, meat products, fresh meat, fruit and vegetables, bakery products, etc. • Annual turnover (DG Agri, 2008): • 14 to 15 billion € at producers’ level • Over 21 billion € at retailers’ level

  5. The GI Sector in the EU: Agricultural Products and Foodstuff • 82% of the value generated in national markets • 13% in intra-EU trade • 5% extra EU trade (0,4 billion EUR)

  6. The GI Sector in the EU: Wines and Spirits • Wines: some 1,500 names protected • Spirit: some 500 names protected • Annual turnover (DG Agri): • Wines: 13 billion € (export: 5,9 billion €) • Spirits: 30 billion € (export: 5,7 billion €)

  7. Definitions (Regulation 510/2006, art.2) • Designation of Origin: name of region, a specific place or a country (including traditional geographical and non-geographical names) used to describe a product origination in the geographic area + quality or characteristics linked to its geographical environment (natural and human factors) + production, processing and preparation taking place in the geographical area • Geographical Indication: name of region, a specific place or a country (including traditional geographical and non-geographical names) used to describe a product origination in the geographical area + quality, reputation or other characteristics linked to its geographical environment + production and/or processing and/or preparation taking place in the geographical area

  8. Definitions (Regulation 479/2008, art.34) • Designation of Origin: ... quality and characteristics + production taking place in the geographical area + grapes exclusively from the geographical area + obtained from vine varieties belonging to Vitisvinifera • Geographical Indication: ... at least 85% of grapes come from the geographical area + its production takes place in the geographical area + obtained from vine varieties belonging to Vitisviniferaor a cross between Vitisviniferaspecies and other species of the genusVitis

  9. Definitions (Regulation 110/2008, art.15) • Geographical Indication: an indication which identifies a spirit drink as originating in the territory of a country, or a region or locality in that territory, where a given quality, reputation or other characteristics of that spirit drink is essentially attributable to its geographical origin

  10. Names which Cannot Be Protected(Similar in the 3 Regulations) • Generic names • Names conflicting with plant varieties, or animal breed • Names wholly or partially homonymous with the ones of GIs (if mislead the consumers) • Previous trademark of reputation and renown

  11. Registration Procedure (similar in Reg. 510/2006 & Reg. 479/2008) • Producers’ groups from the EU: request through the national competent authority • Producers’ groups outside the EU: option to make a request directly to the Commission • First exam by the Commission + publication of the request • Opposition phase • Final decision published = protection granted (PDO, PGI)

  12. Registration Procedure (Reg. 110/2008) • No national phase: Member States send requests directly to the Commission • First exam by the Commission + publication of the request

  13. Request of Registration (Similar in the 3 Regulations) • Submission of the product specification to prove the link between the quality/characteristics/reputation of the product and its geographical environment • Verification of compliance with the specifications should be assessed by an independent certification body before placing the product on the market

  14. “Evolution” (Similar in the 3 Regulations) • Modification of the product specification: • Minor change (simplified procedure) • Major change (standard procedure) • Cancellation: • Following the request of the producer’s group • Initiative of the Commission: assessment that product specifications are no longer respected (only option available in Reg. 110/2008)

  15. Protection (Similar in the 3 Regulations) • Any direct of indirect commercial use of the name with respect of products not covered by the registration if those products are comparable or in so far as using the name exploits the reputation of the protected name • Any misuse, imitation or evocation, even if the true origin of the product is indicated, or the protected name is used in translation or accompanied by expressions such as style, type, etc... • Any other false misleading indication as to the provenance, origin, nature, or essential qualities of the product • Any other practice liable to mislead the consumer as to the true origin of the product • Obligation to refuse trademarks’ requests conflicting with PDOs / PGI

  16. Evocation 1. Case C-87/97, PDO Gorgonzola vCambozola trademark Court of Justice of the European Communities (ECJ), “it is possible for a protected designation to be evoked where there is no likelihood of confusion between the products concernedand even where no Community protection extends to the parts of that designation which are echoed in the term or terms at issue”.

  17. Evocation 2. European Commission v. Federal Republic of Germany Court of justice of the European communities (Grand Chamber), Judgment of 26 February 2008, paragraphs 48/49: “That proximity and the phonetic and visual similarities referred to in paragraph 46 above are such as to bring to the mind of the consumer the cheese protected by the PDO ‘ParmigianoReggiano’, when he is confronted by a hard cheese, grated or intended to be grated, bearing the name ‘Parmesan’. In those circumstances, the use of the name ‘Parmesan’ must be regarded, in the sense of Article 13(1)(b) of Regulation No 2081/92, as an evocation of the PDO ‘ParmigianoReggiano’”.

  18. Evocation In 2010, Parmettaconsidered by a German Court an evocation of the PDO “ParmigianoReggiano” (length of proceedings: 6 months)

  19. Protection and Enforcement (Similar in the 3 Regulations) • Ex officio: national authorities responsible for controls in respect of the obligations established by the Regulation + • EU Reg. 882/2004 on Official Controls (for agri PDO-PGI) • Customs measures: EU Reg. on Customs Enforcement of IPRs (for agri and wine PDO-PGI and spirits GIs) • Criminal sanctions: not harmonised at the EU level

  20. Logos (Reg. 510/2006) • Use of logos = message of quality and authenticity to convey to consumers • EU groups can benefit from funds for promotional campaigns

  21. Reform of the EU Quality Policy • a. Resolution • on the Regulation on Agricultural Product Quality Scheme • (“Quality Package”, EU Parliament, Sept. 2012) • Confirms sui generis nature of PDO-PGI rights • Formally recognizes the role of PDO-PGI groups • Strengthens ex officio protection and harmonizes its implementation in Member States • Streamlines registration procedures • Tackles the protection of PDOs/PGIs used as ingredients in prepared food

  22. Reform of the EU Quality Policy • b. Regulation on Contractual Relations • in the Milk and Milk Products (“Milk Package”) • (into force in Oct. 2012) • Introduces the option for producers’ groups to manage production volume for PDO-PGI in the cheese sector

  23. Objectives of such Reform • Prevent crisis of underproduction/overproduction • Certainty/predictability: better planning and capacity to respond to market needs • Enhanced bargaining power for GI producers • Better distribution of added-value along the supply chain

  24. How the System Will Work in Practice • Voluntary • The group in charge of the GI: • has to be representative of the sector • decides whether to request this opportunity • prepares the management plan • Authorization of the Member State • Overall supervision by the Commission • Safeguards: • System open to “new comers” • No fixation of price

  25. II. The EU Bilateral Trade Agreements and GIs 30 Agreements currently in force 33 Agreements currently negotiated

  26. Agreements concluded by the EU Iceland Norway Canada CH S. Korea Georgia USA W. Balkans Morocco Tunisia Middle East Mexico Cariforum (EPA) Algeria Central America * Cameroon Ivory Coast Andean Community Pacific (EPA) Australia SA Chile * In Central America, the EU concluded single agreements with: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua & Panama.

  27. Current negotiations Russia Canada Ukraine Moldova Gulf Countries * Libya India Africa (EPA) Malaysia Singapore Pacific (EPA) Mercosur ** * In the Gulf region, the EU negotiates agreements with: Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia & United Arab Emirates ** The Mercosur countries are Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay & Uruguay

  28. Future negotiations Azerbajan Armenia Japan EUROMED** China ASEAN* Ecuador Bolivia * ASEAN countries are: Brunei, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand & Vietnam ** EUROMED countries are : Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco & Occupied Palestinian Territory

  29. EU Policy: From a “Sectoral” Approach... • EU signed bilateral Agreements on the protection of GI wines and spirits • Bilateral Agreements on the protection of wines • Bilateral Agreements on the protection of spirits

  30. ... To an “Comprehensive” Approach • Systematic request to include a chapter on GIs in all EU trade negotiations • Wider scope: • Wines and spirits as well as agricultural products and foodstuffs • Short list of products: • Identification of a limited number of “priority GIs” to be protected in the context of each negotiation

  31. The New Approach Internal pressure: The development of the protection of PDO/PGI at the EU level, more EU Member States interested in the GI scheme, more requests for the protection of all GI products External pressure: Third countries with GIs want to secure protection for their products in the EU which are: often non wine, nor spirits GI products sometimes non agricultural GI products – an issue for the EU Little progress at the multilateral level, renewed interest for bilateral deals

  32. Objectives of the New Approach Protecting as many EU GIs as possible in third countries Achieving the highest level of protection Resolving difficult cases: Generic uses of European GI names Conflicts with earlier trademarks

  33. Four Types of Agreements Specific agreements on the protection of GIs Trade agreements including a chapter on GIs Trade agreements including a clause on the future negotiation of a specific bilateral agreement on GI Cooperation agreements (technical cooperation - no protection aspects)

  34. III. oriGIn: Unity is Strength! • oriGIn: the global alliance of GI producers’ groups • Established in 2003 as a non-for profit organisation • Some 350 members from 45 countries • Secretariat based in Geneva • Presidency: Mr. Ramón González Figueroa, Director General, Consejo Regulador del Tequila (CRT) • VPs in each continent

  35. oriGIn Goals • Strengthen the protection of GIs at the national, regional and international level • Promote GIs as a tool for sustainable development • Facilitate exchange of “best practices” among GI producers and specialists

  36. Common Challenges Faced by GI groups at the Global Leveland oriGIn Responses

  37. i. Complexity in a Fast-Changing World • Proliferation of fora and negotiations (WTO, WIPO, ACTA, bilateral agreements, etc.) • Evolution of laws and regulations • Growing phenomenon of imitations: need to monitor markets

  38. oriGIn Response • Active participation in international fora (WIPO committees, EU working groups, WTO, ICANN, etc.) and advocacy • Periodical reports and studies • oriGIn market Watch

  39. ii. Protecting and Enforcing GIs in Foreign Jurisdictions GI/TM to complement each other when possible + pragmatism when not possible

  40. oriGIn Response • Legal advice and support to members seeking protection in a third country (e.g. Colombian Coffee in the EU) • Practical manual on how to protect GIs in BRICs • Worldwide compilation of all GIs protected in the world • Identified US TM system shortfalls in a book an proposed concrete reforms to improve the system

  41. iii. New Trends in the Sector • Communication & marketing • Access to finance • Quality controls and traceability standards

  42. oriGIn Response • Meetings and opportunities of cooperation for producers • Exchange of best practices • Marketing in innovative ways (e.g. GI for consumers events) • oriGIn initiative on access to finance for sustainable agriculture

  43. Thank you for your attention www.origin-gi.com massimo@origin-gi.com