Republicans and Democrats Come Together to Fight Stronger Protection for Geographical Indications of Origin

By Nathaniel DeLucia

Leading members of both houses of Congress have come together to express their concern over the proposed changes to the Lisbon Agreement that would grant more protection for geographical Indications of Origin (GIs).  The US is upset over this development for two reasons.  First, WIPO, the organization that oversees the Lisbon Agreement, is allowing a small group of members to enact these changes without participation of a large number of other countries, including the US.  This is in contrast with the WIPO’s general policy of allowing all members to fully participate in any negotiations resulting in a substantial revision of a treaty.  Second, stronger GIs will likely hurt US businesses by preventing, for instance, the use of “parmesan” on cheese unless it comes from a specific region of Italy or “champagne” on sparkling wine unless it comes from France.

For a complete discussion of the US’s objections see IP-Watch’s story, located here.