Intellectual property experts at the World Trade Organization are making progress on producing a multilateral geographical indications register for wines and spirits.
Negotiations on the issue of geographical indications have been underway for approximately 13 years, according to the WTO. At a recent meeting held to discuss the matter, Darlington Mwape, chairperson of the committee working on the register, handed members an initial draft document for the first of six topics.
Geographical indications - place names or terms associated with a particular region - are often used to indicate that a product has characteristics associated with a specific location. Negotiators hope to reach an international agreement about protocols governing use of these indications.
The draft, which covers the issue of notification, was formulated during two days of consultations among representatives of the countries involved in the negotiations. The document covers intellectual property issues including definitions and descriptions, as well as procedure.
Mwape emphasized that composite text "has emanated exclusively from members themselves, not from the chair.”
Negotiations on the multilateral geographical indications register began in 1997. The current round of talks is being held in response to a call from the Trade Negotiations Committee for the text to be completed by the end of the first quarter of 2011.