Monday, 18 January 2010

Ethiopia aims to capitalise on its coffee trade mark experience

Years after its sensational battle with the Coffee giant Starbucks regarding the trade mark dispute over coffee, Ethiopia plans to register geographical indications protection over emblematic home garden products like coffee, beans, spices and condiments or aromatic plants. The Home Garden Project, launched in 2006 and originally intended to run until 2010, has identified local agricultural products suitable for geographical indication (GI) protection, in the hope of improving incomes to the local farming communities. The project seeks to promote and develop native horticultural productions, while preserving in situ the biodiversity of the country's gardens by offering communities legal protection over their biodiversity resources.

The Ethiopian Parliament is expected to pass the country’s first GI legislation later this year. The WTO requires that a country seeking an international protection of GIs should first protect GIs through its domestic legislation. Although Ethiopia is still in accession negotiations regarding membership to the multilateral trading system, its interest in a GI system coincides with the interest of other developing country members which, under the Doha Rounds of Negotiations, have aligned with the EU in supporting the extension of the WTO’s heightened protection for wines and spirits to other agricultural goods beyond wines and spirits.

Written by Tegasher Worku Dagne; posted by Jeremy

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