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EU-China Agreement on Cooperation on, and Protection of, GIs
On 14 September 2020 the European Union and the People’s Republic of China signed the EU-China Agreement on Cooperation on, and Protection of, Geographical Indications (GIs), a standalone agreement that concludes a long negotiation of over ten years. Paul Ranjard of the MARQUES GI Team explains its importance.
An initial EU-China pilot project “10+10” was run from 2007 to 2012, allowing the registration of 10 EU GIs in China under the AQSIQ regime (and 10 Chinese GIs in Europe). In 2010, the European Council mandated the European Commission to negotiate an EU-China Agreement for 100 GIs on each side.
The EU China Agreement is made up of 13 articles, which define the essential elements of the registration procedure of 100 GIs from each side, with an agreement to add another “batch” of 175 GIs from each side, within four years.
The agreement addresses issues such as the scope of protection of, and the right to use, a GI and the relationship between GIs and trade marks (an identical or similar trade mark may not be registered after a GI is registered, but newly registered GIs could coexist with earlier trade marks).
Six annexes are attached to the agreement: the relevant legislation of the parties, the technical specifications for GI registration, the list 100 GIs from China and from the EU, and the (to be added in the future) list of 175 GIs from China and from the EU.
A Joint Committee composed of representatives of the Chinese Ministry of Commerce and of DG AGRI is tasked with monitoring the implementation of the agreement and exchanging information.
Important issues remain to be reviewed and clarified, including how the Chinese legislation on GIs is enforced on the ground. In that regard, Article 7 of the EU China Agreement merely provides that “the parties shall enforce the protection of GIs by appropriate actions of their authorities. They shall also enforce such protection at the request of an interested party. This is without prejudice to the rights of interested parties to seek judicial enforcement”.
Another clarification needed concerns the revocation of a GI on account of genericness: the European Union and China have quite different views on this issue.
Paul Ranjard is Counsel to WAN HUI DA Intellectual Property Agency and Law firm in Beijing and a member of the MARQUES GI TeamPosted by: Blog Administrator @ 11.58
Tags: GI, China, geographical indication,
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