The Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) has drafted Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRRs) on Geographical Indications (GIs) with the aim of enhancing the protection of GI products in the country.
The IRR, drafted by the Trademark Office, aims to achieve recognition of GIs as protectable intellectual property under the Intellectual Property Code of 1997. It will also fulfill the Philippines’ obligation as a member of the World Trade Organization to provide reciprocal rights and GIs. protection to other members.
“Geographical Indication protection is key to enhancing the competitive advantage of our local and indigenous products,” reads RRI’s draft, which went through its first round of stakeholder consultations on May 12. latest.
The RRI draft defines GIs as “any indication that identifies a good as
originating in a territory, region or locality, when a given quality, reputation or other characteristic of the good is essentially attributable to its geographical origin and/or to human factors”.
In the Philippines, GIs are protected under the Trademarks section of the Intellectual Property Code of 1997. The famous Guimaras mangoes and Tau Sebu T’nalak, registered as collective marks, are identified as potential GIs.
Others are Bicol Pili, Davao Pomelo, Cordillera Heirloom Rice; Landzones of Camiguin; Davao Cocoa; Kalinga Coffee; Antique Bagtason Loom; Aurora’s sabutan; Basey Banig of Samar; the Yakan fabric from Basilan and Zamboanga; and, more recently, Beef Masbate and Strawberry Baguio.
“We hope to be able to finalize and implement the IRR soon in order to make our unique and high-quality Filipino products more attractive. Supporting these products to get the global exposure they deserve will make a tangible difference in the lives of our farmers, weavers and all who make up our GI landscape,” said Managing Director Rowel S. Barba. .
According to the draft, GI holders have the right to prevent the use of their products to mislead the public as to the geographical origin of the products;
misrepresent to the public that the goods originate from another jurisdiction;
for wines or spirits, use in translation or accompanied by expressions such as “type”, “type”, “style”, “imitation”, “method”, “such as produced in” or other similar qualifying terms ; for agricultural products, foodstuffs and any product of craftsmanship or industry, using in translation or accompanied by expressions such as “Kind”, “type”, “style”, “imitation”, “method “, “as produced in” or other similar expressions the qualifying terms, if such use is likely to mislead the public; constituting an act of unfair competition within the meaning of the Paris Convention; and any other use similar or analogous to the foregoing.
The IRR also provides the registration process and terms of application.
The protection of a GI is not subject to a certain period and will remain valid until its registration is cancelled.
The Trademark Office may revoke a registration for the following reasons:
the protection conditions are not met; there has been a change in the geographical origin of the goods, including the natural and human factor; a court or tribunal excludes that the identified producer has no effective control over the use of the GI, the production standards of the goods and the other specifications of the product; the registration of the GI was obtained by means of false declarations and false documents during the application; and the registered or protected geographical indication is found to be generic or to be a common or customary name of the covered goods in the Philippines.
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