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WTO Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) - United States Complaint against the European Communities Regulation 2081/92

On April 19, 2005, the WTO DSB ruled in favor of the United States that the EC's regulation on food-related geographical indications (GIs), EC Regulation 2081/92, is inconsistent with the EC's obligations under the TRIPS Agreement and the GATT 1994. This ruling resulted from the United States' long-standing complaint that the EC GI system discriminates against foreign products and persons -- notably by requiring that EC trading partners adopt an EC-style system of GI protection -- and provides insufficient protections to trademark owners. In the report adopted by the DSB, the WTO panel agreed that the EC's GI regulation impermissibly discriminates against non-EC products and persons. The panel also agreed with the United States that Europe could not, consistent with WTO rules, deny U.S. trademark owners their rights; it found that, under the regulation, any exceptions to trademark rights for the use of registered GIs were narrow, and limited to the actual GI name as registered. The panel recommended that the EC amend its GI regulation to come into compliance with its WTO obligations. 

 Summary of the Case [PDF]

 USPTO Press Release

Statement to the WTO Settlement Body (DSB)

WTO TRIPS Council

US Submissions on GIs at the WTO TRIPS Council:

  • "Joint Proposal for a Multilateral System of Notification and Registration of Geographical Indications for Wines and Spirits," Communication from Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, Ecuador, El Salvador, New Zealand and the United States, TN/IP/W/9, 13 April 2004 [PDF]
  • "Multilateral System of Notification and Registration of Geographical Indications for Wines (and Spirits)," Communication from Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, New Zealand and the United States, TN/IP/W/6, 29 October 2002 [PDF]
  • "Proposal for a Multilateral System for Notification and Registration of Geographical Indications for Wines and Spirits based on Article 23.4 of the TRIPS Agreement," Communication from Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Japan, Namibia, New Zealand, Philippines, Chinese Taipei, and the United States, TN/IP/W/5, 23 October 2002 [PDF]
  • "Questions and Answers - Comparison of IP/C/W/107/Rev.1 ("EC Proposal") IP/C/W/133/Rev.1 ("Joint Proposal") IP/C/W/255 ("Proposal by Hungary")," Communication from the United States, TN/IP/W/1, 9 April 2002 [PDF]
  • "Proposal for a Multilateral System for Notification and Registration of Geographical Indications based on Article 23.4 of the TRIPS Agreement, Revision," Communication from Canada, Chile, Japan and the United States, IP/C/W/133/Rev.1, 26 July 1999 [PDF]
  • "Suggested Method for Domestic Recognition of Geographical Indications for WTO Members to Produce a List of Nationally-Protected Geographical Indications," Communication from the United States, IP/C/W/134, 11 March 1999 [PDF]

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Last Modified: 12/6/2012 12:22:33 PM