Tuesday, 27 November 2012

ARIPO, European Commission press on with GI cooperation

Stilton cheese expects
good GI protection
in Africa
This Monday, 26 November, the European Commission and the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) signed a non-binding but nonetheless encouraging memorandum of understanding on the protection of traditional agricultural products from specific geographical locations or with specific characteristics. The Commission's announcement of this deal, "Commission supports protection of food and agricultural products' names in Africa", can be read in full here. At the time of posting this item, there was no corresponding item on the ARIPO website, though Afro Leo estimates that it would only have been the work of a few minutes to make something available online.

... while Yirgacheffe was felt
to be better protected by
trade mark registration
The document, signed in Zanzibar, Tanzania, commits the ARIPO and the European Commission to work together in promoting geographical indications (GIs), including building a legal framework for GIs -- under which Africans would have to protect European GIs. This may prove unpopular in Africa, since Europe appears to have stockpiled a vast arsenal of GIs which it is seeking to protect globally, while Africa has relatively few. The Commission's press release states that the following names have been proposed as candidates for GI protection:

  • Zanzibar cloves (clous de girofles) from Tanzania
  • Rift Valley Coffee from Tanzani
  • Sidamo coffee from Ethiopia
  • Rooibos from South Africa 
  • Karoo lamb from South Africa 
  • Beurre de karité du plateau Massif from Burkina Faso
  • Miel blanc d’Oku from Cameroon 
  • Poivre blanc de Penja from Cameroon 
  • Shama shea butter from Ghana
  • Ghana Fine Flavour Cocoa
  • Café Diama from Guinea 
  • Rwanda Mountain Coffee
  • Mount Kenya Roses from Kenya
  • Ngoro Ngoro Mountain coffee from Kenya
  • Rodrigues Limes from Mauritius
  • Karakoel pelt from Namibia
  • Senegal Yett West Nile district cotton from Uganda
  • West Nile Honey from Uganda

Source: "European Commission, ARIPO Sign Agreement On Agricultural GIs", IP Watch, 27 November 2012

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