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Region: Protecting European products

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Consortium last month was awarded a contract by the European Union, to protect 226 so-called “geographical indications of origin” throughout the isthmus.

As the EU and the region move to establish an association agreement, which would strengthen commercial ties between the parties, one of the concerns for the European negotiators was to ensure greater protection for products, known for qualities, which are unique to a particular region.

Well-known products of this type include sparkling wines from the Champagne region of France, and cheese from the Parma area of Italy.

As part of its mandate, Consortium will on behalf of the EU promote the creation of a registry of geographical indications of origin in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Panama, together with laws, which ensure enforcement. Costa Rica and Nicaragua already have such mechanisms.

One of the aims of the program is to end a common practice in Central America, of describing a local product as similar to an authentic European counterpart, usually with the designation “type”, as in “Parmesan-type cheese” or “Serrano-type” ham.

Under the new rules, a protected region of Europe could bring a civil claim for damages in civil court, based on the doctrine of unfair competition.

For more information, please consult Lic. Ninoshka Urrutia at [email protected] or (502)-2279 3909