In June 2021, CCFN presented in a webinar sponsored by USPTO and the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) focused on the use of common names and GIs in Africa. Approximately 60 participants across the ARIPO 19-country region participated in the event.
Former U.S. Chief Agricultural Negotiator, Ambassador Al Johnson, provided a presentation on behalf of CCFN. The presentation covered the history of common names in intellectual property (IP) and the marketplace, and the importance of protecting the rights of common name users, including producers and consumers in Africa. In addition, it outlined proposals as to how these African countries can manage their IP processes to ensure transparency and due process that results in fair and objective decisions that avoid the granting of unjustified GI name monopolies.
This event is part of a series of educational efforts by USPTO in cooperation with CCFN to educate intellectual property officials in Africa and other regions about GI issues and the importance of ensuring producers and consumers who rely on generic terms retain the right to use them.