CCFN Participates in GI Sessions at WIPO Meeting in Geneva

November 26th, 2019

wipo meeting

CCFN participated in several key sessions in November at a major geographical indications (GI) meeting of the United Nations World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), where CCFN was able to leverage its new “Observer” status. Held in Geneva, the event was the biannual meeting of the influential Standing Committee on the Law of Trademarks, Industrial Designs and Geographical Indications (SCT). Attendees included more than 100 country delegations, mostly representatives of patent and trademark offices, and also included intergovernmental organizations such as the World Trade Organization.

In addition to monitoring the proceedings, CCFN representative Frank Hellwig participated in two sessions: one on GI issues related to trademarks that included a presentation by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on the “Evaluation of Genericness”; and the other a side event hosted by the International Trademark Association (INTA). At the latter session, Hellwig was one of four presenters and focused his remarks on “Common Names Protection in the Implementation of GI Protection Regimes”. Hellwig pointed out that while the EU claims not to be interested in monopolizing generic terms, history suggests otherwise. He made specific reference to the recent protections for “havarti” in the EU despite the fact that most havarti cheese is made outside of Denmark and a Danish havarti manufacturer produces it in the United States. He noted that too often countries’ GI decisions seem not to be determined by in-market realities, but more by political pressures.