Cambodia joins the Geneva Act of WIPO’s Lisbon Agreement
On 9 March 2018, H.E. Mr. Pan Sorasak, Minister of Commerce (“MoC”), presented Director General Francis Gurry from the World Intellectual Property Organisation (“WIPO”) with Cambodia’s instrument of accession to the Geneva Act of the Lisbon Agreement on Appellations of Origin and Geographical Indications (“Geneva Act”).
Appellations of Origin and Geographical Indications are identifiers for products that have a specific geographical origin and possesses qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin.
The Lisbon System is an International Registration of Appellation of Origin by obtaining protection for an appellation of origin in 28 contracting parties through a single registration and one set of fees with WIPO. It offers a Lisbon Express database, which allows for a search on the appellation of origin as registered, the product to which they apply, their area of production, the holders of the right to use the appellation of origin, any refusals or invalidation notified by member countries, etc.
In order to enhance the existing Lisbon Agreement for the Protection of Appellations of Origin and their International Registration established in 1958, a diplomatic conference was held from 11 to 21 May 2015 in Geneva for the purpose of adopting a new Geneva Act. Following that, the Geneva Act was officially adopted on 20 May 2015.
Registration conditions for appellations of origin under the Lisbon Agreement are:
- The appellation must consist of a denomination identifying a geographical entity in the country of origin.
- The appellation must serve to indicate a reputation of the goods as linked to the geographical entity.
- The quality or characteristics of the goods indicated by the appellation must be due exclusively or essentially to the geographical environment of the geographical entity.
The Lisbon Agreement and the Geneva Act from the Lisbon System will offer more effective protection for the distinctive designations of origin-based quality products internationally. Moreover, the Geneva Act allows individual beneficiaries to file international applications directly with WIPO, provided that the national law of the relevant contracting party so permits. These significant modifications will greatly increase applications for Geographical Indications under the Geneva Act.
With Cambodia being the first state party to join the Geneva Act, Cambodia will be able to attain protection for its appellations of origin and geographical indications through reducing formalities and costs. Furthermore, the registration will remain valid for as long as it is protected in the contracting party of origin.
The Geneva Act will take its effect after the Director General of WIPO has received the instruments of accession from five eligible contracting parties.
This alert is for general information only and is not a substitute for legal advice.