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

H.E. Ambassador Dagfinn Sørli
European Union
127.   I would like to take the opportunity to share some information about GIs in the European Union and would first of all also like to echo Switzerland's views on the ever-increasing importance of protected geographical indication in the European Union. 128.   We wanted to draw Members' attention to a recent registration of a GI in the European Union. In February 2022, the European Commission registered Ceylon Cinnamon as a protected geographical indication in the European Union. The European Union considered that the name 'Ceylon cinnamon' refers to a product which has distinctive qualities and characteristics and that the name enjoys a consolidated reputation. This is an example of the European Union protecting the products and cultural heritage of Sri Lanka. As from 23 February 2022, the name Ceylon Cinnamon will be protected against use on any non-originating product and protected against uses that evoke, misuse or imitate the genuine Ceylon Cinnamon. Importers of genuine Ceylon Cinnamon will now be able to distribute and sell the product using the valuable European Union protected geographical indication logo and face a level playing field in the market. 129.   Other cinnamon or blended cinnamon from different places outside of Sri Lanka can and will still be sold on the EU market, but it will not be able to use the name 'Ceylon Cinnamon'. Also, any use of the Sri Lankan flag, emblems, signs or other graphic representations on the labels that might mislead consumers in particular as regards the characteristics, origin or provenance of the product is and will be prohibited in the European Union.
50. The Council took note of the information provided and agreed to revert to the matter at its next meeting.
43. The Chair recalled that Article 24.2 of the TRIPS Agreement required the Council to keep under review the application of the TRIPS provisions on geographical indications. The principal tool used for the review was the Checklist of Questions in documents and . Since the Council's October 2021 meeting, Switzerland has submitted updated responses which had been circulated in document .
44. The Chair invited Switzerland to introduce their submission.
45. The representative of Switzerland took the floor.
46. The Chair thanked Switzerland for providing detailed and comprehensively updated answers to the list of questions on geographical indications.
47. He said it was unfortunate that only 52 out of 164 Members had responded to the Checklist so far; and that many of these responses were likely to be outdated. In his view, this did not adequately reflect the fact that GI protection was an active area of legal and policy development at the domestic level and in FTAs. The "Annual Report on Notifications and Other Information Flows" circulated earlier by the Secretariat provided a Member-by-Member overview of notifications in this area. He invited delegations to take a look at Table A.9 to determine whether they should submit initial responses to the GI checklist or whether their previous responses might merit updating. He noted that the eTRIPS Submission System provided an easy and convenient online tool for drafting and submitting responses to the Checklist.
48. In line with the Council's recommendation made in March 2010, the Chair also invited Members to share information regarding GI chapters in their bilateral agreements.
49. The representatives of the European Union; and Sri Lanka took the floor.
50. The Council took note of the information provided and agreed to revert to the matter at its next meeting.
IP/C/M/104/Add.1, IP/C/M/104/Rev.1, IP/C/M104