Wednesday, 18 February 2009
Ethiopia to Protect Limu & Lekempte as trademarks
In a move that emphasizes the importance placed on protecting any aspects of Ethiopia's famed coffee brands, the government there has decided to file for trademark protection over its Limu & Lekempte coffee brands. Ethiopia already has trademark protection over its lead brands, Yirgacheffe and Sidamo
The New Vision newspaper in Uganda reports that "The Ethiopian Intellectual Property Rights Office(EIPRO) has embarked on efforts to secure trademark certificates for Limu and Lekempte coffees during the 21st American Specialty Coffee Conference" - words attributed to Mr.Alemu Abebe EIPRO's director.
Ethiopia gained alot of press attention over the past couple of years due to its bare knuckle fight with Starbucks Coffee over the Yirgacheffe and Sidamo trademarks. It is not apparent as to whether those opposed to Ethiopia's use of the trademark system to protect what appear to be geographical indications will file opposition proceedings against the marks.
Overall, Ethiopia through its enthusiastic embrace of the trademark system shows how Intellectual property can to some extent be leveraged to promote the culture and unique products of developing countries in the rough and tumble struggle for markets.