On 27 July 2018, the European Commission recommends that the EU should join the Geneva Act of the Lisbon Agreement, relating to the protection of geographical indications (GIs).
The Lisbon Agreement of 1958 is a treaty administered by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) and offers a way to secure protection for appellations of origin (AO) through a single registration. In May 2015, the Agreement was changed through the "Geneva Act", which expanded its scope beyond AOs to all Geographical Indications (GIs) and allowed accession by international organisations such as the EU.
The Lisbon Agreement currently has 28 members*, of which 7 are EU member states. Once the EU joins, it will enable the rapid, high-level and indefinite protection of European GIs in all current and future parties belonging to the Geneva Act.
Geographical indications (GIs) designate a product originating from a specific geographical area. In addition, its quality or characteristics are essentially linked to the geographical origin, including natural and human factors. A GI may therefore only be used by producers located in the designated area.
GIs also empower local communities, which can continue to commercialise their products without fearing displacement by global mass production. By creating niche markets for local communities' reputable products and prohibiting others from profiting from the products’ reputation, GIs also serve to distinguish and reinforce cultural contributions and reward the creativity of traditional know-how.
Following today's decision, the Commission will now prepare a recommendation to the Council that the EU should join the Geneva Act, to be able to take full advantage of the revised Lisbon system.
* Algeria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Congo, Costa Rica, Cuba, Czech Republic, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, France, Gabon, Georgia, Hungary, Islamic Republic of Iran, Israel, Italy, Mexico, Montenegro, Nicaragua, Peru, Portugal, Republic of Moldova, Serbia, Slovakia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Togo, Tunisia.
27 July 2018