Effective 1 April 2019, the new Registry of Geographical Indications at the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) will commence operations to receive applications from anywhere in the world for the registration of geographical indications (GI). Applications will undergo a fair and transparent examination process. Once registered in Singapore, producers and traders of GI products will enjoy an enhanced level of protection.
While GI protection is currently available for wines and spirits, the establishment of the Registry will extend GI protection to other agricultural products and foodstuff such as cheeses and cured meats. Additionally, producers and traders of registered GIs will be able to request for customs authorities to detain suspected infringing goods which are imported into or exported from Singapore.
The new GI Registry follows on from the European Parliament’s consent for the European Union-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (EUSFTA) on 13 February 2019 and the enhanced level of protection will be implemented in stages in accordance with the ratification of the EUSFTA.
Worldwide, there are close to 60,000 GIs protected under various mechanisms, of which, more than half are for wines and spirits. A form of intellectual property, GIs provide consumers with information about the products’ unique characteristics, qualities or reputation that are attributable to their geographical origins, helping consumers make better informed buying decisions. Some of the GIs already found in our supermarkets include Pinggu peaches from China, Idaho potatoes from the US, Ichida Gaki (dried persimmon) from Japan, Waiheke Island wine from New Zealand and Champagne wine from France. With the establishment of the GI Registry, consumers can look forward to a broader range of good quality wines, spirits and agricultural products on our food shelves and dining establishments.
GIs are products that possess special qualities or enjoy a certain reputation due to its geographical origin. Examples of GIs include “Champagne” from the Champagne region in France, and “Kampot pepper” from the Kampot region in Cambodia.
Source: World IP Organization press release, 3 Dec 2018