The Geneva Act of the Lisbon Agreement on Appellations of Origin and Geographical Indications was adopted in May 2015 and entered into force on February 26, 2020. The purpose of the agreement is to strengthen the protection of geographical indications and appellations of origin at an international level.
Geographical indications (GIs) refer to a product that is associated with a specific geographical location or region and possesses a quality or reputation that is due to that location. Examples include Champagne, Roquefort cheese, and Darjeeling tea. Appellations of origin (AOs) are more specific, indicating that a product must be produced in a particular region, using traditional techniques, and meeting certain quality standards.
The Geneva Act of the Lisbon Agreement extends the protection of GIs and AOs beyond wines and spirits, which were previously the only products covered by the Lisbon Agreement. The agreement also sets out the minimum requirements for protection, such as the obligation for governments to establish a system for the protection of GIs and AOs and to provide the administrative and legal means to oppose infringing uses.
One of the key features of the Geneva Act is the creation of an international registration system for GIs and AOs. This will allow producers to register their GIs and AOs in multiple countries by submitting a single application to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). This simplifies the process and reduces costs for producers, who previously had to register their products in each country individually.
The Geneva Act also includes provisions for the protection of traditional terms, such as “cheddar” or “parmesan,” which have become generic in some countries but are still protected in their country of origin. The agreement allows for a balance between protecting the interests of producers and avoiding unnecessary restrictions on trade.
The benefits of the Geneva Act are numerous. It provides enhanced protection for GIs and AOs, which helps to preserve traditional products, promote local economies, and support rural development. It also simplifies the registration process for producers and provides a clear framework for international legal protection.
In conclusion, the Geneva Act of the Lisbon Agreement on Appellations of Origin and Geographical Indications is an important step towards greater international protection of GIs and AOs. By providing a clear framework for their protection, the agreement helps to preserve traditional products, promote local economies, and support rural development. Its adoption represents a significant milestone in the protection of intellectual property rights on a global scale.