CCFN Submits Comments In China, Australia and the EU

November 30th, 2020

CCFN recently submitted comments on several important markets around the globe. In China, CCFN’s comments on the proposed Guide on Determining Generic Names in the Protection of Geographical Indications (GIs) included several recommendations, such as further strengthening the regulations guiding free use of generic names and individual terms in a compound name. Overall, however, we are encouraged by China’s actions to protect the free use of generic terms and prevent the appropriation of those terms through GI protections.

The proposed guide takes a critical step forward in working to implement many of the commitments in the U.S.-China Phase One trade deal related to GIs and the usage of generic names that CCFN successfully advocated for in that agreement. Many of the points we made in our comments were also reflected in recommendations submitted by the International Trademark Association (INTA), of which CCFN is an active member.

In Australia, CCFN submitted comments in response to the possibility that a new GI system may be implemented as part of the framework of the negotiations of the Australia – EU FTA. Our comments made it clear that any GI protection regime must have the safeguards necessary to ensure that GIs do not harm the use of common or generic terms and the trademarks owners’ rights.

Lastly, in the EU, CCFN took an opportunity to utilize our comments on the EU’s quality schemes to comment on the key problem areas that remain unaddressed in regard to GIs. These comments addressed a number of issues including the EU’s systematic refusal to indicate which names are considered generic, a lack of clarity on the scope of protections for GIs both in the EU and in third countries and the lack of a transparent and fair process for GI applications and oppositions, among other issues.