Protection of geographical indications — Geneva Act of the Lisbon Agreement
Geneva Act Of The Lisbon Agreement On Appellations Of Origin And Geographical Indications
Decision (EU) 2019/1754 — accession of the EU to the Geneva Act of the Lisbon Agreement on Appellations of Origin and Geographical Indications
Regulation (EU) 2019/1753 on the EU’s action following its accession to the Geneva Act of the Lisbon Agreement on Appellations of Origin and Geographical Indications
WHAT IS THE AIM OF THE ACT, DECISION AND REGULATION?
The Geneva Act of the Lisbon Agreement allows all contracting parties to benefit from rapid, high-level and indefinite protection for geographical indications (GIs)* through a single registration.
The decision authorises the EU to join the Geneva Act of the Lisbon Agreement.
The regulation sets out the rules governing the exercise by the EU of its rights and the fulfilment of its obligations under the Geneva Act.
The Lisbon Agreement of 1958 is a treaty administered by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). It provides for the protection of appellations of origin (AO)* e.g. Bordeaux wine, and their international registration. AOs are a special kind of GI for products that have a particularly strong link with their place of origin.
As of May 2020, there are 30 contracting parties to the Lisbon Agreement, 7 of which are EU countries — Bulgaria, Czechia, France, Italy, Hungary, Portugal, and Slovakia.
3 others — Greece, Romania and Spain — have signed but not ratified the agreement.
The Geneva Act modernises the Lisbon Agreement and expands its scope to cover not only AOs but all GIs and allows for international organisations to become contracting parties.
In addition to indicating the origin of a product, GIs are also used to distinguish and reinforce cultural contributions and reward the creativity of authentic know-how. A product name registered as a GI or AO — in the EU as a protected geographical indication (PGI) or a protected designation of origin (PDO) — can only be used by producers located in the designated area.
Each contracting party is obliged to protect on its territory, within its own legal system and practice, the AO and GI of products coming from other signatory countries for which it accepts protection.
Decision (EU) 2019/1754
The EU has exclusive competence for the areas covered by the Geneva Act. The decision authorises the EU to join the Geneva Act to be able to properly exercise its exclusive competence.
EU countries which wish to do so can also accede to the Geneva Act alongside the EU in the interest of the EU and in full respect of its exclusive competence.
EU countries which were already party to the Lisbon Agreement before EU accession to the Geneva Act can remain so (see Case C-24/20 — European Commission v Council of the European Union).
The regulation sets out the rules governing the EU’s rights and obligations under the Geneva Act. Under the regulation:
the European Commission is responsible for filing applications for the international registration of geographical indications relating to products originating in the EU.
the Commission will also assess whether the conditions are met for EU-wide protection to be granted to a GI which has been registered internationally under the act and which originates in a non-EU country.
The regulation also deals in particular with:
conflicts between an internationally registered geographical indication and a trade mark.
transitional rules to accommodate those EU countries that were already parties to the Lisbon Agreement before the EU’s accession to the Geneva Act.
rules on financial issues and a monitoring obligation for the Commission.
FROM WHEN DO THE ACT, DECISION AND REGULATION APPLY?
The Geneva Act entered into force on 26 February 2020.
The regulation and decision have been in force since 13 November 2019.
Geographical indications (GIs): refer to products which originate from a specific geographical area, and in respect of which a given quality, reputation or other characteristic is linked to the geographical origin.
Appellations of origin (AOs): geographical denominations that indicate a product's origin as well as its distinctive and renowned qualities associated with the location.
Geneva Act Of The Lisbon Agreement On Appellations Of Origin And Geographical Indications (OJ L 271, 24.10.2019, pp. 15-29)
Council Decision (EU) 2019/1754 of 7 October 2019 on the accession of the European Union to the Geneva Act of the Lisbon Agreement on Appellations of Origin and Geographical Indications (OJ L 271, 24.10.2019, pp. 12-14)
Regulation (EU) 2019/1753 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2019 on the action of the Union following its accession to the Geneva Act of the Lisbon Agreement on Appellations of Origin and Geographical Indications (OJ L 271, 24.10.2019, pp. 1-11)
last update 18.05.2020