ACTA and the protection of Geographical Indications: one step forward and two steps back

The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) is currently being negotiated within the World Organization of Intellectual Property (WIPO). This represents a golden opportunity for Geographical Indications (GIs) who are always seeking a greater protection on the international arena.
After the 11th round in Tokyo, which ended last September, a consolidated text was adopted and published. Geographical indications are de facto included in the scope of the agreement and this is a real progress given the strong opposition of some of the negotiating parties. Unfortunately, when one reads the text, the protection of GIs appears largely insufficient. First, the definition of counterfeiting on the one hand, and the destruction of counterfeit products, on the other hand is limited to trademarks and copyright meaning that GIs are excluded from this important provision. Then, regarding the border measures, it is accepted that GIs should not be “discriminated unreasonably” meaning that the text justifies the existence of discrimination. These two points are unacceptable for GIs.
Thus, the European Federation of Origin Wines (EFOW) has sent a letter to the European Commissioner for Trade- Mr. Karel De Gucht – in which it expresses its strong concern for the final negotiations of the ACTA agreement.