Georgia Starts Protection of Local Cuisine
06 October, 2011
Georgia Starts Protection of Local Cuisine

Georgia intends to register mineral waters, local sorts of cheese, dairy, sweets and vodka, thus increasing the total number of protected appellations of origins and geographic indication to 37.
Georgia goes ahead with the protection of its intellectual property been unsupervised for almost two decades of its existence as a sovereign state. Having registered 18 appellations of origins of Georgian wines in the EU and the US Sakpatenti, the National Intellectual Property Center of Georgia, undertook registration procedures of   3

new appellations of origin and 16 geographical indications submitted by Ministry of Agriculture of Georgia by end of August.
Accordingly, taking into account the 18 already registered appellations of origin of Georgian wines, the total number of the appellations of origin and geographical indications now reached 37.
The list submitted by the Ministry of Agriculture of Georgia includes  mineral waters of Nabeghlavi and Sairme, as well as appellations of local sorts of cheese for registration as geographical indications: Tushuri Guda, Imeruli Kveli, Kobi, Sulguni, Svanuri Sulguni, Megruli Sulguni, Chogi, Kartuli Kveli, Tenili, Acharuli Chlechili, and Meskhuri Chechili. Also local dairy products Matsoni [that resembles Yogurt but is sour], and  Dambali Khacho [sort of cottage cheese] are put on the registration list that also includes favorite sweet “candy” of Georgian children Churchkhela made of grape juice and nuts as well as Chacha, famous Georgian vodka distilled from crashed grape used for wine fermentation.
Sakpatenti, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia, has already sent the list of appellations of origin and geographical indications to relevant offices of the Russian Federation, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and European Commission within the existing bilateral agreements for the purpose of their recognition and protection on their territory.
On the other hand the dissemination of the newly registered appellations of origins of cheese, dairy, sweet candy and vodka is a legal procedure demanded by intellectual property law. The new names will be open for the public worldwide through three months and if nobody questions Georgian claim over the ownership of the enlisted intellectual assets they will be acknowledged as of Georgian origins officially.
Georgia started registration of its national intellectual property that includes exotic cuisine and cultural heritage just a year ago and has to handle with loads of paper-work to complete the process. Bigger part of work comes with the ministry of agriculture that is responsible to accumulate documents backing origins of Georgian product and agriculture specimen.
There are about 300 sorts of local cheese and more than 500 grape varietals and it takes some time to gather all due papers for each specimen. Therefore government submitted the most famous appellations of origins and geographic indications that are most frequently falsified especially within Russia and post-soviet countries. However Sulguni and Churchkhela falsification cases became familiar at the US market and EU lately some even claiming Sulguni as their national cheese. 
According to Georgian wine producers, there were entire plants and distilleries deployed in Russia especially in Novosibirsk and Tomsky regions that were falsifying Georgian wines Saperavi and Khvanchkara and providing Russian market by cheap counterfeit scarcely resembling the true wines.
Protection of intellectual property that was neglected by Georgian government for two decades and became a priority since 2008 when Georgia started negotiations on Free Trade Agreement with the EU and the European community stressed on protection intellectual property. Since then Georgia harmonized its legislation with the international agreements and EU normative acts.
However as a result of previous nonchalant attitude of Georgian government Sakpatenti had to puzzle out number of complicated falsification cases and embezzlement of Georgian brands especially wines, cheese and other samples of Georgian cuisine. This year alone while registering appellations of Georgian wines in the US and EU Sakpatenti found out that the US based company Dozortsev & Sons registered Khvanchkara and Kindzmarauli, famous Georgian wine appellations of origins, as the intellectual property of the company at the US market. Another company embezzled Kindzamarauli as its intellectual property in Lithuania. Both cases are detangled at the moment however work should be accelerated to register the entire intellectual property of Georgia that is essential to be competitive at the international market.

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