SINGAPORE’S GEOGRAPHICAL INDICATIONS REGISTRY STARTED OPERATION
By Susan Lewis
As part of its obligations under the EU-Singapore free trade agreement, Singapore’s Intellectual Property Office (IPOS) has established a Geographical Indications (GI) Registry and has started receiving applications from around the world this month.
In Singapore, GI protection has been available for wines and spirits but the establishment of the GI Registry will “extend GI protection to other agricultural products and foodstuff such as cheeses and cured meats,” said IPOS in a media release.
“With the establishment of the GI Registry, consumers can look forward to a broader range of good quality wines, spirits and agricultural products on our food shelves and dining establishments,” it added.
“Applications will undergo a fair and transparent examination process,” IPOS said.
Once the GIs are registered, producers and traders of the products will be able to request customs authorities to “detain suspected infringing goods which are imported into or exported from Singapore,” it said.
“Some of the GIs already found in our supermarkets include Pinggu peaches from China, Idaho potatoes from the US, Ichida Gaki (dried persimmon) from Japan, Waiheke Island wine from New Zealand and Champagne wine from France,” said IPOS adding that there are close to 60,000 GIs that are protected around the world.
Singapore’s GI Registry provides for a three-stage registration process, namely application, examination and publication or opposition stages.
A registered GI is valid for 10 years and can be renewed every 10 years. Registered GI owners would enjoy a higher degree of protection against unauthorised exploitation by third parties in Singapore.
(the writer can be contacted at: SusanLewis@thewinechronicle.com)
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