Minutes - TRIPS Council - View details of the intervention/statement

Ambassador Chak Mun See (Singapore)
I.2 Definitions and Criteria for Recognition
136. The representative of Australia said that the paper made it clear that various countries were using various definitions of geographical indications in their domestic laws. She queried whether protection for a geographical indication could be denied where it was protected in the country of origin and satisfied the definition of Article 22.1 but did not comply with the requirements laid down in another country's domestic law for the eligibility for protection as a geographical indication. 137. She also referred to footnote 33 of the preliminary version of the Secretariat summary paper (JOB(00)/5619), which indicated that country names were only eligible for protection as geographical indications in the European Communities and certain other Members in "exceptional circumstances", while at the same time drawing attention to Annex A of the paper, which revealed that country names could be protected as geographical indications in many Members (for example, "Bulgarian yoghurt", "Canadian whisky" or "New Zealand"), and wondered whether Members who did not generally recognize country names as geographical indications were in a position under the TRIPS Agreement to deny protection to geographical indications of other Members on this ground. 138. As regards footnote 107 to paragraph 51(ii) of the preliminary version of the Secretariat summary paper (JOB(00)/5619), which indicated that, in the European Communities and Turkey, recognition of a foreign geographical indication by use of the normal domestic procedure was "conditional on the existence of equivalent recognition and inspection requirements in the country of origin", she wondered how this was established and determined. 139. She also referred to Table III of the paper, which listed information on membership of international agreements provided by Members, and noted that relatively few responding WTO Members participated in the Lisbon Agreement. Perhaps, Members could benefit from a consideration of the shortcomings of the system under that Agreement that had led to such limited acceptance.