Rules for geography-based intellectual property readied
The Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) has drafted the implementing rules and regulations on geographical indications (GI)—which essentially identify a good to a specific locality—in a bid to strengthen the protection of these products in the country.
The regulations, drafted by the Bureau of Trademarks, aims to fulfill the recognition of GIs as “protectable” intellectual property under the law. It will also fulfill the obligation of the Philippines as a member of the World Trade Organization to provide reciprocal rights and GI protection to other members.
In a recent statement, the IPOPHL said the draft defines GI “any indication which identifies a good as originating in a territory, region or locality, where a given quality, reputation, or other characteristic of the good is essentially attributable to its geographical origin and/or human factors.”
IPOPHL, citing the draft, said it is important to protect GIs since it is vital in the competitive advantage of local and indigenous products. Protection for a GI is not subject to a certain period and will remain valid unless its registration is canceled.
Under the draft, registrants will have rights to prevent their products from being misused by other stakeholders, such as a false representation that the good actually comes from somewhere else, among cases. GIs in the Philippines are protected under the trademarks section of the Intellectual Property Code of 1997. The popular Guimaras Mangoes and the Tau Sebu “T’nalak,” registered as collective marks, are identified as potential GIs.
Other possible examples are Bicol Pili, Davao Pomelo, Cordillera Heirloom Rice; Camiguin “Lanzones;” Davao Cacao; Kalinga Coffee; Antique’s Bagtason Loom; Aurora’s Sabutan Weave; Samar’s Basey Banig; Basilan and Zamboanga’s Yakan cloth; and, most recently, the Masbate beef and Baguio Strawberry.
“We hope we can finalize and implement the [regulations] soon so we can make our unique and high-quality Philippine products more attractive. Supporting these goods to have the global spotlight they deserve, will make a tangible difference in the lives of our farmers, our weavers and all who make up our GI landscape,” Director General Rowel Barba said.
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