WASHINGTON – U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick announced that the United States had prevailed in its World Trade Organization case against the European Union regarding geographic food names known as “geographical indications.”
Geographical indications are geographic names that have a particular association with a product, such as Idaho potatoes or Florida oranges.
In its report, the World Trade Organization panel agreed with the United States that Europe’s regulation discriminates against U.S. products and producers and is therefore contrary to World Trade Organization rules.
The panel also agreed with the United States that Europe could not, consistent with World Trade Organization rules, deny U.S. trademark owners their rights.
The panel emphasized that any exceptions to trademark rights for the use of registered geographical indications were narrow, and limited to the actual geographical indications name as registered.
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