The Worldwide Symposium on Geographical Indications is taking place in Tbilisi. Ozlem Futman of the MARQUES GI Team is attending and provides a report on the first day’s activities.
The 2023 edition of the Worldwide Symposium on Geographical Indications is organized jointly by WIPO and the National Intellectual Property Centre of Georgia (SAKPATENTI) in Tbilisi between 14-16 June.
The Symposium provides a forum for exchanging ideas and perspectives on issues relating to the use and protection of GIs. It also offers technical insights and information on recent developments in the field.
According to the statements made, this year's Symposium is by far the best attended Symposium to date. Over the course of two days, academics, GI representatives, and practitioners from different countries came together to discuss GI-related topics.
On the first day, the participants were greeted with Georgia’s geographical indication products at the Conference Centre. Local products placed on the tables received great interest from the attendees.
Branding and marketing strategies
The symposium, which was opened by WIPO Director General Daren Tang by video, featured two panels on the first day. The first panel was titled Branding & Marketing Strategies for GIs. The focal points of the panel can be described as the GI product branding pathway and Archetypes versus Stereotypes.
We had the chance to see through the presentations of the panellists how geographical indications can be differentiated and highlighted through neuro-branding. It is evident that geographical indications serve as ambassadors for social values and unlike brands, they already have their own stories.
We understood from the presentations that in a changing world where old perceptions are shifting, we will encounter a change in the branding of geographical indications, and a communication language can be established within a value-based communication framework.
To put it more concretely, it seems that in GI communication, we should be ready to encounter promotion and marketing that appeal to emotions, highlight values and prioritize the sensitivities of today’s individuals, rather than the traditional communication language that showcases productive lands, countries and producers. However, as the panellists also emphasised, it is essential to establish a solid and systematic strategy before engaging in all these activities.
The marketing strategies for GIs in developing countries, the challenges faced, and their potential solutions were also discussed in the first panel.
The evolving and digitalising world provides new opportunities for GI products, such as selling and promoting them through e-commerce platforms, websites, and active utilisation of social media channels.
A great example of this was demonstrated through the presentation of the Commercial Social Projector Coordinator of the Turkish e-commerce platform HepsiBurada. While listening to the presentation about the project that brings together Turkey's geographical indication products with consumers on the HepsiBurada platform, we also witnessed the positive impact created by the collaboration and synergy between HepsiBurada and the Turkish Patent and Trademark Office (TürkPatent).
In the second panel of the day, the developments in the Lisbon System in selected countries were discussed. In this context, the WIPO representative provided general information, shared the novelties brought by the Geneva Act, and provided updates on the topic with the participants.
Subsequently, we had the opportunity to listen to two informative presentations regarding the legislation and practices related to GIs in the hosting country, Georgia, and later in China, shedding light on their past and present. These presentations also touched upon the plans of the respective countries regarding GIs.
Of course, I hope you didn't expect that we would discuss GIs without mentioning the eagerly anticipated non-agricultural GIs in the European Union, did you? In a joint presentation by two panellists, the key points of the upcoming system in Europe and how the system is structured were shared with the participants.
Following the panels, the participants concluded the eventful day by enjoying Georgian wines at the reception held at the restaurant on the 10th floor of the hotel, overlooking the city of Tbilisi.
Ozlem Futman is Founding Partner of OFO VENTURA in Turkey and a member of the MARQUES GI Team. Her report on day 2 of the Symposium will be posted on Class 46 tomorrow.