Opportunities from EVFTA commitments on Geographical Indications

Geographical Indication (GI) is a category of IP that the EU has particular interest as it has a lot of products protected in the form of GI. Therefore, the EVFTA has lots of specific commitments on GI which are different from those in other Agreements on Intellectual Property. In addition, GI commitments in the EVFTA also have a specific scope of application, while other IP-related commitments in the EVFTA are applied to all subjects.

The following are key GI commitments of the EVFTA:

  • Regarding the objects of protection: the commitments on GI in the EVFTA apply only to 03 groups of products originating from the territory of Vietnam or the EU, including: wine, spirits; agricultural products; foodstuffs.

  • Regarding the protection mechanism: although not mentioning directly, the EVFTA requires the protection of GI under a separate mechanism that is independent of the "trademark" protection mechanism.

  • Regarding the relationship with trademarks: EVFTA recognizes the right to protect trademarks, even when their names are similar to GI but they had been legally registered and protected before the effective date of the EVFTA or before the date of an application for the protection of such GI submitted to the competent authority.

  • Regarding automatically protected cases: Annex 12-A, Chapter 12 of the EVFTA lists 169 GIs of the EU and 39 GIs of Vietnam that are committed to protect automatically by the two sides, without going through the procedures for appraisal, notification, complaint...

The EVFTA provides specific rules of protection for these GIs that are protected automatically, for example, Vietnam and the EU must take legal measures for the right holders to:

  • Prohibit the use of these GIs for products that do not originate from the geographical area of ​​the listed country of origin, or which originate from the country of origin but are not produced or manufactured in accordance with applicable laws and regulations of the country of origin; Vietnam reserved this obligation for "Champagne" for 10 years from the date of entry into force of the EVFTA;

  • Prevent the use of labeling or presentation in a way that confuses consumers about the origin of the product;

  • Prevent acts of unfair competition related to GI.

GIs of Germany are automatically protected under the EVFTA

1. Bayerisches Bier – Beer

2. Lübecker Marzipan – Marzipan

3. Nürnberger Bratwürste; Nürnberger Rostbratwürste  - Sausage

4. Münchener Bier – Beer

5. Schwarzwälder Schinken – Ham

6. Korn/Kornbrand - Spirit

7. Franken – Wine

8. Mittelrhein – Wine

9.  Mosel – Wine

10. Rheingau – Wine

11. Rheinhessen - Wine

12. Genièvre/Jenever/Genever - Spirit


 EVFTA full text for more information: https://wtocenter.vn/chuyen-de/12778-eu-vietnam-trade-and-investment-agreements 

Source: "Business Handbook: Exploiting the EVFTA  to import and export goods between Vietnam and Germany" - Center for WTO and International Trade