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Geographical Indications Law: a new tool for Africa? All Africa House (UCT) Aug. 28, 2012 Seble Baraki Open A.I.R. Research Fellow.

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Presentation on theme: "Geographical Indications Law: a new tool for Africa? All Africa House (UCT) Aug. 28, 2012 Seble Baraki Open A.I.R. Research Fellow."— Presentation transcript:

1 Geographical Indications Law: a new tool for Africa? All Africa House (UCT) Aug. 28, 2012 Seble Baraki Open A.I.R. Research Fellow

2 What GIs are all about GIs are among the branches of IP law which protect designation of products Agricultural Cultural Semi industrial/semi-tech products Confer collective and exclusive right to a community of producers They are placed on goods-which in turn gives geographical information-which is very useful in the identification, reputation, origin and qualities of particular products Additionally, they are used as marketing tool; to designate products quality, highlight brand identify and preserve cultural traditions

3 Some definitions of GI WTO(TRIPS)-GIs ……indications which identify a good as originating in the territory of a member state, or a region or locality in that territory, where a given quality, reputation or other characteristic of the good is essentially attributable to its geographical origin Lisbon Agreement-Appellation of Origin …..the geographical name of a country, region, or locality, which servers to designate a product originating therein, the quality and characteristics of which are due exclusively or essentially to the geographical environment, including natural and human factors

4 Some definitions contd…. From these definitions it can be deduced that GIs; protect goods(with the exception of countries such as Bahrain, Croatia, Jamaica, Singapore etc. which also include services as protectable as GIs) There needs to be a link between the product and a particular territory (sometimes irrespective of size) Reputation, or characteristics of the good should be attributable to the place of origin GI could be any geographical name or sign such as symbols, icons, etc. (except in case of appellation of origin)

5 Examples of protected GIS EU/North American countries

6 Examples of GIs contd….. Developing countries

7 Protection Mode of protection at the National Level Sui Generis GIs PDO, PGI, Indication of source Other IPR regimes Trademarks, trade secretes, collective marks etc. Unfair competition and other related laws Regional protection of GIs in Africa African regional intellectual property organization(ARIPO)- gearing towards a regional GIs protocol African intellectual property organization(OAPI)- Bangui Accord- registration system administered from Yaoundé

8 Protection contd…. International protection Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property (1883) Madrid Agreement for the Repression of False or Deceptive Indications of Source on Goods (1891) Lisbon Agreement for the Protection of Appellations of Origin and their International Registration (1958) Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS Agreement) (1995) General protection for all goods (Art. 22) Additional protection for Wines and Spirits (Art. 23)

9 Economics of GIs Potentials Useful in developing and consolidating a differential geographical identity and reputation Provide governance to value adds help in preserving age-old heritages registration can bring increased demand and a higher retail price for quality products, which in turn meant a better distribution of economic returns for small household farmers highlighting the indigenous products of African countries

10 Potentials contd…. Consumer protection-solve market asymmetries-local, regional and international level Collective nature of the protection Useful in creating a barrier to niche markets Investment- job opportunities Attracts Tourism

11 Economics of GIs contd…. These benefits depend largely on the way they are exploited- pose the following challenges in Africa Challenges/costs Initial investment required for implementation in terms of: Production methods Development of reliable supplier of raw materials Quality control Farmers, their associations or/and governments have to bear the cost of establishing, maintaining and building a GI culture Governance Demarcation of production areas Lack of the required human and capital resources

12 Ways forward….. Since GIs are mostly concerned with agricultural and cultural goods, African countries, including its LDCs have a competitive advantage. African countries ought to; attach the requisite importance to the legal, economic and cultural implications of GIs in their individual countries Incorporate GIs in agriculture transformation plans of individual countries Appropriately Identify the value chain so that it include/benefit all stakeholders including small scale farmers. Draw country specific and efficient GIs system

13 Ways forward contd…. Market success is a key requisite for the sustainability of small farmers livelihoods and for the conservation of their diverse genetic resources: hence extensive work is needed in this regard- in terms of marketing strategies and informative labeling Governance should not be a burden for producers but only a legitimate frame work to support and reward their efforts Conducting further (empirical)researches on GIs- from an African point of view

14 R.I.P PM. Meles Zenawi( ) The Key to food security, economic development, social and political stability is the transformation of small scale farming. Our focus has been on the transformation of small scale farming. (The late PM of Ethiopia Meles Zenawi, World Economic Forum 2012(Addis Ababa, Ethiopia))

15 Last words….


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