February 26, 2020
The Geneva Act of the Lisbon Agreement on Appellations of Origin and Geographical Indications has officially entered into force. The international registration system provides protection for names identifying the geographic origin of products such as coffee, tea, fruits, wine, pottery, glass and cloth.
The Geneva Act of the Lisbon Agreement, adopted May 20, 2015, allows now the international registration of geographical indications in addition to appellations of origin through a single registration procedure with WIPO, and permits the accession to the Act by certain intergovernmental organizations, including the European Union and the African Intellectual Property Organization (OAPI). The European Union’s November 26, 2019, accession permitted the Geneva Act’s entry into force three months later – on February 26, 2020.
The foundational Lisbon Agreement for the Protection of Appellations of Origin and their International Registration was originally concluded in 1958. Together, the Geneva Act of the Lisbon Agreement and the Lisbon Agreement form what is commonly referred to as the “Lisbon System.” The Geneva Act currently covers 31 countries.
Appellations of origin and geographical indications are distinctive product designations which require a qualitative link between the product to which they refer and its place of origin. Both are interesting marketing tools for producers, as they inform consumers about a product’s geographical origin and a quality, characteristic and/or reputation of the product linked to its place of origin. The basic difference between the two terms is that the link with the place of origin is stronger in the case of an appellation of origin.
Like all intellectual property rights, the rights granted by an appellation of origin or a geographical indication fundamentally have a territorial character and only take effect in the country or region in which the distinctive sign is protected.
About the Lisbon System
The Lisbon System offers an international registration system for appellations of origin and geographical indications through a single procedure with WIPO. By means of a single registration procedure and a minimum expense, the holder of a national or regional appellation of origin or geographical indication may obtain the protection of the distinctive sign in the other contracting parties of the Lisbon System.
Examples of appellations of origin and geographical indications include Kampot Pepper, Darjeeling Tea, Panjin Rice, Café de Colombia, Prosciutto di Parma, Oku Honey, Scotch Whisky, Tequila, Argane, Chulucanas, Khokhloma, Chiangmai Celadon, Swiss Watches and Bohemia Crystal.