Monday, April 9, 2012

Brand Name of Philippine Products

Taking off from its recent national forum to develop a geographical
indication (GI) scheme branding products based on their geographical
origin, the Intellectual Property Office (IPOPHL) will work on the
crafting of a bill to provide protection of GIs, developing
complementary codes of practice, and pursuing interagency cooperation.

"We expect a lot of things after the forum. One of these is the
development or crafting of a bill that will give ample protection to
GI," said Atty. Jesus Antonio Z. Ros of IPOPHL.

"As of now, we have the intellectual property (IP) code, which gives
little protection to GIs. We cannot register GI per se. It may be
registered as a collective mark but it is very weak," Ros explained.

"In the sense, we cannot register a geographical name under the
present law or the IP code. Because geographical names are
descriptive, it cannot be registered as collective marks. We want a
law that will accord protection to GIs by means of registration. That
is what we are going to do in the next few weeks," Ros added.

The World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects
of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) defines GIs as "indications
that identify a good as originating in the territory of a Member, or a
region or locality in that territory, where a given quality,
reputation or other characteristic of the good is essentially
attributable to its geographic origin."

A GI has to show the link between some characteristic of the good and
the particular region where it was produced. It serves as goods and
services quality indicator, which is used by producers, distributors,
and retailers for promotion purposes.

"Actually, we are already studying some models. During the workshops
of the forum, we were presented with the European, US and Thailand
model. We are also studying models from the ASEAN countries like
Malaysia, and Indonesia," Ros said.

"We have eight congressmen to support us since we have eight potential
GI coming from different congressional districts. In the upper house,
we hope that we can get the support of the committee head of
agriculture, trade and industry," Ros added.

The eight pilot GIs are Dagupan bangus (milkfish), Batangas barako
coffee, Lumban barong, Bicol pili nuts, Guimaras fresh mangos, Aklan
piña cloth, Cebu dried mangos, and Lake Sebu tinalak. With these GIs,
IPOPHL has stepped up its efforts in developing them.

"The next step is to develop the codes of practice or the book of
specifications. This code lists down the standards that will be
followed for each particular GI," Ros said.

The elaboration of the code is a very important step establishing the
specifications with which local producers who want to use the GI have
to conform.

"Another effort that we are going to pursue after the national forum
is the interagency linkages. The GI is not an effort of the IPOPHL
alone. There are technical matters to be discussed in the GI," Ros

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