[AfrICANN-discuss] WIPO: Protection Of Country Names Inspires Delegates; Designs Conference Elusive

Anne-Rachel Inné annerachel at gmail.com
Fri Sep 21 12:56:01 SAST 2012


Published on 20 September 2012 @ 9:06 pm

By Catherine Saez, Intellectual Property Watch

The use of a country name by third party with no association with the
country can have a severe impact on a developing country’s economy,
according to the governments of Jamaica and Barbados. The two
Caribbean nations are asking this week that the World Intellectual
Property Organization undertake a study on the protection of country
names in the context of the WIPO Standing Committee on the Law of
Trademarks, Industrial Designs and Geographical Indications (SCT).

During the last session of the SCT in January, Barbados and Jamaica
presented a proposal [pdf] with a three-phase work plan. Jamaica then
submitted an additional document [pdf] to facilitate the
implementation of the work plan.

This afternoon, after the morning discussions, Barbados and Jamaica
submitted a revised proposal for a study on the protection of country
names [pdf] with terms of reference. This study would analyse “the
current legislative provisions and practices in national or regional
legislations relating to the protection of country names, in
particular in the field of registration of trademarks.”

The delegate of Jamaica said that the country had provided a report
with case studies and sets of evidence, enumerating concerns but also
steps taken to protect Jamaica’s brand. They identified a list of
products and services bearing the name Jamaica which have no
association to the country, as well as registered trademarks using the
name of Jamaica, he said. The report also states efforts and steps
taken by the government and the private sector to establish a nation
brand, he added.

Empirical assessment of the impact of the use of country names on
developing countries is needed in view of the limitations of the
intellectual property system to address the issue, he said. The
ultimate goal of the exercise is to produce a reference resource, or
joint recommendation which would guide future developments of domestic
and international practice, legislation and related jurisprudence in
relation to the protection of country names, he said.

During the morning, several countries, such as Argentina, Chile,
China, Ghana, Korea, Switzerland and the central European and Baltic
states, supported further work of the SCT on country names. However,
the European Union had reservations about scope, costs and feasibility
of the proposed work programme. The EU said its member states
recognise the importance of the subject and are prepared to discuss
further but that the committee should focus on industrial designs with
the view of convening a diplomatic conference in the near future.

After the submission of the revised proposal by Barbados and Jamaica,
the EU said some of the elements still were problematic, such as the
scope being too broad, and proposed to discuss with the two proponents
informally. The plenary will continue the discussion tomorrow.

EU Pushing for Diplomatic Conference on Designs

After going through the draft articles and the draft regulations of a
potential treaty on industrial designs yesterday, delegates could not
agree today on whether to make a recommendation to the annual WIPO
General Assembly in two weeks on the convening of a diplomatic

Most countries taking the floor said such a treaty would be useful but
many of them, including the African Group and the Development Agenda
Group said the time was not ripe yet. Group B developed countries were
uncharacteristically silent during the discussions on industrial
designs and according to one Group B delegate, while the EU is pushing
for a diplomatic conference (a high-level treaty negotiation), some
other members of the group are not in such a hurry.

The discussion will also continue tomorrow in plenary session said SCT
Chair Irme Gonda.
Related Articles:

    WIPO: ISP-Trademark Meeting Agreed; Industrial Design Treaty,
Country Names Still On Table
    Discussion Of Treaty On Industrial Designs, Role Of ISPs Resumed At WIPO
    Hope To Advance Industrial Design Treaty At WIPO Meets Reluctance
>From Developing Countries

Catherine Saez may be reached at info at ip-watch.ch.

More information about the AfrICANN mailing list