July 03, 2003
Press Release, 03-19
Commerce Under Secretary Rogan to Open USPTO/WIPO Conference Exploring Use of Geographic Names to Describe Food and Wine
Use of Terms Bologna, Parmesan, Chablis, and Burgundy Could Be Prohibited, Adversely Affecting U.S. Food and Wine Industry
Wednesday, July 9, 2003
The Palace Hotel
2 New Montgomery Street
San Francisco, CA
Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property James E. Rogan will make opening remarks at a three-day symposium (July 9-11) on the use of geographical indications (GIs) to describe food and wine. The symposium, which is being co-hosted by the Department of Commerce’s United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), will feature an international array of experts in the field from WIPO member states and the food and wine industries. The symposium is being held in anticipation of a World Trade Organization (WTO) meeting on GIs scheduled for Cancun, Mexico in September. It is expected that at the Cancun meeting, the European Union will call for terminating the use of certain generic terms to describe food and wine unless those products come from a specific geographic region. If the EU is successful, use of terms such as feta and gorgonzola for cheese, and port and sherry for wine—now considered generic in many WTO member nations—could be prohibited in the United States, resulting in consumer confusion and potentially injuring U.S. domestic and international commerce in food and wine.
The symposium agenda is available at http://www.wipo.int/meetings/2003/geo-ind/en/program/.