USPTO Program in China Underscores Importance of Protecting Geographical Indications and Trademarks (02JUN2006)

Posted by J Matthew Buchanan at June 5, 2006 09:10 PM

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the China Trademark Office (CTMO) completed a successful weeklong program in China last week on “geographical indications” (GIs). The program was presented in Beijing and in Xiamen.

Geographical indications” identify a good as originating in the territory of a World Trade Organization (WTO) 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. Examples of geographical indications from the United States include: "FLORIDA" for oranges; "IDAHO" for potatoes; "VIDALIA" for onions; and "WASHINGTON STATE" for apples.

The China program focused on protection of geographical indications through use of a trademark system. Like the United States, China protects geographical indications through a trademark system, administered by the CTMO. However, China has a second system for protecting geographical indications, administered through a separate government agency, which has led to confusion over protection of geographical indications and trademarks.

“The USPTO-CTMO geographical indications program represents a significant effort on behalf of each office to understand our respective systems for the protection of trademarks and geographical indications,” noted Jon Dudas, the Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office. “Better mutual understanding will lead to certainty and confidence in the protection afforded to trademarks and geographical indications.”

Representatives of the Idaho Potato Commission and the Florida Department of Citrus, the owners of U.S. certification marks (a type of U.S. trademark) “Idaho Potatoes” and “Florida Citrus,” respectively, joined the U.S. delegation. A representative of Anheuser-Busch Companies, Inc. also accompanied the U.S. delegation to discuss the challenges in enforcing a pre-existing mark against a subsequent GI. The program featured a presentation by a representative of IP Australia, who discussed Australia’s experience in protecting GIs through a trademark approach.

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IP Dragon Says:

August 31, 2006 09:18 AM

Interesting article. Thanks for sharing.


IP Dragon
Gathering, commenting and sharing information about IPR in China.

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