CCFN Provides Guidance on GI Recognition at IP Forum

December 8th, 2021

At the 2021 World Intellectual Property Forum, CCFN consultant Juan Antonio Dorantes Sanchez discussed the issue of common name confiscating through the misuse of GIs with more than 1,500 attendees from 30 countries. The event provided CCFN with an opportunity to continue to communicate to global audiences the importance of sound GI policies that respect the rights of generic users.

After laying out the definition and uses of GIs, and noting they “have a territorial validity, in principle,” Dorantes Sanchez detailed the misuses of GIs and how countries can achieve a balance between protections for product names and allowing the use of commonly named products.

Among other suggestions, he said countries should ensure that:

  • Procedures and decisions on protecting or recognizing GIs be exclusively handled by intellectual property (IP) authorities.
  • Domestic procedures, not free trade agreements (FTAs) with automatic recognition of GIs be used to set protections. If GI protections are included in an FTA, countries should ensure that procedures for their recognition respect due process and transparency principles of IP laws or that decisions be based in IP reasoning and pre-examination by domestic authorities.
  • Governments publish applications for GI recognitions before they are granted, allow a reasonable period for opposition, and provide final decisions in writing.
  • Every term subject to recognition is assessed on its merits to receive protection as a GI in the territory where recognition is sought.
  • Prior rights of users of common terms are enforced and respected by clearly defining grounds for opposition and the existence of common use or descriptive terms and following objective guidelines for determining that a term is generic.