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Negotiators Open Diplomatic Conference on Lisbon System

11-May-2015 | Source : WIPO | Visits : 9671
GENEVA - High-level negotiations opened on a proposed adjustment to an international registration system providing international protection for names that identify the geographic origin of products such as coffee, tea, fruits, wine, pottery, glass and cloth.

WIPO Director General Francis Gurry welcomed some 400 negotiators to the Diplomatic Conference for the Adoption of a New Act of the Lisbon Agreement for the Protection of Appellations of Origin and their International Registration. The Diplomatic Conference is taking place at WIPO headquarters in Geneva between May 11 and 21, 2015.

According to WIPO, the Lisbon Agreement for the Protection of Appellations of Origin and their International Registration was originally concluded in 1958 and has 28 members.

Mr. Gurry underlined shifts in technology and international commerce since the Lisbon Agreement’s establishment, saying that brands and identifiers play an indispensable role for contemporary consumers in a globalized economy.

He called the talks the “most-significant normative development this year” at WIPO and referred to the “heavy burden that rests on the shoulders of the negotiators.”

The Diplomatic Conference elected as President Ambassador Luis Enrique Chávez Basagoitia, Permanent Representative of Peru to the United Nations Office and other international organizations in Geneva.
Mr. Chávez encouraged participation by WIPO’s full membership in the discussions of the Diplomatic Conference, stressing the need to search for common understanding with the goal of expanding the membership of the Lisbon Agreement.

The basic negotiation text for the Diplomatic Conference was developed between 2008 and 2014 by a Lisbon System working group with the goal of attracting a wider membership to the System, while preserving its principles and objectives.

The draft text seeks to further develop the legal framework of the Lisbon System, extending its scope to include geographical indications in addition to appellations of origin, which help promote many globally marketed products such as, for example, Scotch whiskey, Darjeeling tea and Café de Colombia. The text also seeks to create the possibility of accession by certain intergovernmental organizations.

Issues that are considered still pending include fee provisions, scope of protection, protection against becoming generic, safeguards in respect of prior trademark rights, phasing out periods for prior use (if any) and where prior use was not raised as a ground for refusal.

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