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

Ambassador Chak Mun See (Singapore)
I.3 Procedures for Recognition
140. The representative of Australia referred to paragraph 71 of the preliminary version of the Secretariat summary paper (JOB(00)/5619), which listed references made to grounds for opposition and noted that the paper did not deal in detail with the application by Members of the exceptions to geographical indication protection contained in Article 24. In her delegation's view, some of the grounds for opposition referred to in paragraph 71 seemed to go beyond the scope of the exceptions in the TRIPS Agreement. For this reason, some consideration as to how the exceptions in the Agreement were being applied in practice, in terms of refusal to protect and grounds for opposition, could be useful for many Members. An understanding of the application of exceptions by other Members would greatly assist Members in understanding whether one of their geographical indications would in fact obtain protection elsewhere or what obstacles it might face in obtaining the protection that they would like. For example, it would be helpful to receive further information as to what were the criteria applied by countries in determining whether certain terms were generic? In particular, it would be interesting to know how the European Communities dealt with the issue of generic names as it was a union of countries in which a name considered generic in one country could be claimed as a geographical indication in another. She had noted that it was a ground for opposition to the protection of a geographical indication in the European Communities and Switzerland where "the proposed registration of a name would jeopardise the existence of an entirely or partly identical name or trademark or the existence of products which were legally on the market". What did this criterion mean? In particular, to what did "name" refer? In what circumstances would the registration of a geographical indication jeopardise the existence of products which were legally on the market? How were these criteria applied? A further ground listed in the paper was "injury to the legitimate interests of a third party". What did this mean? How was it applied?