CCFN Gains WIPO Observer Status, Bolstering Efforts to Defend Consumer Interests

November 26th, 2019


The United Nations World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) has granted observer status to CCFN, an important step forward in CCFN’s ability to ensure balanced dialogue in the development of fair geographical indications (GI) policies that safeguard common names side-by-side with GI protections, to the benefit of consumers worldwide. The action took place in October at WIPO’s Fifty-Ninth Series of Meetings of the Assemblies.

“As the lead multilateral organization examining GI policies, WIPO plays a key role in fostering a broad dialogue on the ways GI guidelines must respect the inherent rights of food producers to use generic names,” said CCFN Executive Director Jaime Castaneda. “CCFN has already been active in WIPO for years; we look forward to continuing productive discussions that consider food and beverage producers and consumers in all areas of the globe.”

As a recent benefit of Observer Status, CCFN was invited to attend a meeting with WIPO Director General Francis Gurrey in Geneva in late November. A CCFN representative attended the meeting to stress the need for more balanced inclusion of the common names issue in WIPO’s GI programs and activities. CCFN also asked the Director General to consider, as WIPO administers the Madrid Agreement, that GI protections should not compromise the general principle in trademark protection that no party is allowed to register generic terms as trademarks—the anti-monopolization principle.