Georgian Wine Will Be Safe on EU Market
23 February, 2012
Georgian Wine Will Be Safe on EU Market

Georgian wine export will be protected from falsification on the EU market starting this spring as agreement on mutual protection of geographical indication of agricultural products and other foodstuff between Georgia and the EU enters into effect on April 1, 2012.  

 

Two-year long legal procedures related with the agreement on protection/certification of Georgian geographic marks of food and agricultural products with the EU is through and the agreement becomes effective in a month and a half.

The agreement envisages providing protection in Georgia of agricultural products and other foodstuffs protected in the EU, and vice versa - Georgian product will be protected in Europe. The EU foodstuff indication list that must be observed in Georgia includes more than 3 thousand names including Champaign, Cognac, and Bordeaux etc. Georgian list to the EU is of much moderate size at the moment including just 18 appellations of origins of Georgina wine [Ateni, Akhasheni, Tsinandali, Gurjaani, Kardenakhi, Kakheti, Kotekhi, Kvareli, Manavi, Mukuzani, Napareuli, Kindzmarauli, Sviri, Tibaani, Teliani, Tvishi, Khvanchkara, Vazisubani].

After inactivation of the agreement Georgia will have full legal ground to prevent any misuse of the enlisted geographical indications in the EU that will protect Georgian product from falsification and facilitate to keep high quality image at the export markets, Irakli Ghvaladze, Head of Sakpatenti, National Intellectual Property Center of Georgia, said in the interview with Georgian Journal.

But this is not the end of the work. According to Ghvaladze, the agreement envisages enlargement of the protected names that is of crucial importance to Georgia that still has not completed registration of all geographical indications and appellations of origins of national assets and local trademarks to be protected.

Sakpatenti along with the Agriculture ministry goes ahead with works to register all Georgian intellectual assets but at the moment accents fall on the product already being exported to oversee market.

“As the export enhances we will enhance the protection list gradually,” Ghvaladze elaborates. “To this end we plan in coming months to hand to the EU first of all 14 sorts of dairy products including cheese, Chrurchkhela [national sweet candies made of grape juice and nuts], Chacha [Georgian vodka made of grape pomace] as well as three mineral waters [Borjomi, Nabeghlavi and Sairme].”

Adding of new names to the protection list will take just about three months after publishing of new names as envisaged by the EU law. On the other hand Sakpatenti goes ahead with establishing legal protection mechanisms of Georgian intellectual property at other export markets. Out of 18 appellations of origins of Georgian wines 12 are already registered at the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the remainder six will be registered soon. The point is that America unlike Europe does not acknowledge appellations of origins and registers them as trademarks. Therefore no agreement similar to the one Georgian concluded with the EU can be concluded, and Georgia needs each new export product name to be registered at the USPTO as a separate trademark no matter wheater it is a company brand or a national property.

Talks on the agreement similar to the one concluded with the EU on protection appellations of origins with the enhancement prospects have already been started with Azerbaijan. Negotiations on trademark protection also started with Kazakhstan and are to be launched with Uzbekistan and Belarus. China, Armenia, Kirgizstan and Tajikistan are also on the target map.

“The process of the agreement legalization with the EU revealed number of falsification cases of the targeted product [wine, cheese and mineral water] we aim to protect, it showed that they are popular at that market and worth of protection. What is not popular is not falsified as you know, and this gave us an impetus to go ahead with the protection procedures. We cooperate with our embassies and Georgian diasporas to this end, our emigrants are willingly cooperating and reporting on each suspicious fake case and we will be able to react on them more effectivly as far as will have full legal base for that soon,” Ghvaladze said.

As to Qvevri wine misuse cases [Qvevri is a clay jar embedded in the ground for wine fermentation/storage and is believed to be a unique wine-making technology] that became frequent lately after Qvevri technology gained popularity among foreign wine-makers, to protect national technology Georgian ministry of culture acknowledged Qvevri as a national treasury. The point is that foreign companies producing Qvevri wine indicate Amphora instead of Qvevri on wine bottles in order to make it more familiar to foreign consumer but violate intellectual rights over Qvevri at the same time for Qvevri is a national intellectual property invented about 8 thousand years ago. Its registration as an intellectual asset was complicated due to international law that acknowledges only new inventions.

Since Qvevri is acknowledged as a national treasure now Sakpatenti works to register Qvevri wine as a separate trademark that will protect Qvevri name and prevent its further confusion with Amphora that is a transportation/storage jar alone and has nothing in common with Qvevry except that both are made of clay.