European Communities — Protection of Trademarks and Geographical Indications for Agricultural Products and Foodstuffs

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Southern Taiwan University of Technology
Graduate Institute of Applied English Department

European Communities — Protection of Trademarks and Geographical Indications for Agricultural Products and Foodstuffs

Complaints by the United States (WT/DS174)
and Australia (WT/DS290)

A partial fulfillment of the course requirement
of
WTO dispute settlement

Adviser: Dennis Y. H. Lin

Student: Doris H. Fang

Due Date: June 23, 2009
I. Introduction
Marketing of goods under geographical names has always been common. Aims to prevent somebody abuse the separate forms of legal protection for geographical indications (GIs) both nationally and internationally. However the European Community (EC) has gradually enacted its own legal law to protect geographical indications. Finally, in the EC it is no longer required that a product has individual characteristics by its geographical origin as long as consumers associate the products with a certain geographical origin. This has departed from the limit of traditional protection of GIs. Due to this departure, the US and Australia requested consultations with the EC in respect of the alleged lack of protection of trademarks and geographical indications for agricultural products and foodstuffs in the EC. On 1 June 1999, the US contended that EC Regulation 2081/92 does not provide national treatment with respect to geographical indications and does not provide sufficient protection to pre-existing trademarks that are similar to a geographical indication. The US considered this situation to be inconsistent with the EC’s obligations under the TRIPS Agreement, including but not necessarily limited to Articles 3, 16, 24, 63 and 65 of the TRIPS Agreement. On 4 April 2003, the US sent an additional request for consultations to concern the protection of trademarks and GIs for agricultural products and foodstuffs in the EC. According to the US, the EC Regulation limits the GIs that the EC will protect and limits the access of other Members to the EC GI procedures and protections provided under the Regulation. The US claims that the EC Regulation appears to be inconsistent with Articles 2, 3, 4, 16, 22, 24, 63 and 65 of the TRIPS Agreement and Articles I and III: 4 of the GATT 1994. On 17 April 2003, Australia requested consultations with the EC concerning the protection of trademarks and to the registration and protection of geographical indications for foodstuffs and agricultural products in the EC. II. Discussion of related issue

In fact, there are some other issues related with the protection of trademarks and geographical indications for agricultural products and foodstuffs. The issues are as follows, Beer (DS174), Potatoes (DS174), Oranges (DS174). Geographical indications (DS174/DS290), and Trademarks (DS174/DS290).  (i) Main arguments of the parties

The European Communities v. Australia (Protection of Trademarks and Geographical Indications for Agricultural Products and Foodstuffs), (2005) WT/DS290 The European Communities v. the United States (Protection of Trademarks and Geographical Indications for Agricultural Products and Foodstuffs), (2005) WT/DS174 (ii) Main arguments of third parties

In dispute WT/DS174, Argentina, Australia, Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Hungary, India, Malta, Mexico, New Zealand, Romania, the Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Sri Lanka and Turkey requested to join the additional consultations and the EC informed the DSB that it had accepted their requests. In dispute WT/DS290, Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Malta, the United States, Hungary and Slovenia, New Zealand, Romania, the Slovak Republic, Chinese Taipei and Turkey, Argentina, Colombia and Mexico requested to join the consultations and the EC informed the DSB that it has accepted their requests to join the consultations. III. List of WTO agreement related provision

TRIPS Article 1: Nature and Scope of Obligations...
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