On March 20, 2013, the Comité Interprofessionel du Vin de Champagne (“CIVC”), the organisation-grouping producers of Champagne, obtained the registration as a Geographical Indication (“GI”) in the People’s Republic of China of the word “CHAMPAGNE” and of its Chinese transliteration "香槟".
At present, in the Chinese jurisdiction, there are three different sets of disciplines for GIs, which are managed by different authorities: (i) the Trademark law; (ii) the Provisions on the Protection of Geographical Indications and (iii) the Measures for the Administration of Geographical Indications of Agricultural Products.
With specific reference to the “Champagne" case, CIVC filed its application for protection as a GI with the Administration of Quality Supervision Inspection and Quarantine (“AQSIQ”) under the Provisions on the Protection of Geographical Indications.
Pursuant to article 1 of this regulation, the protection scheme provided thereunder is aimed at “effectively protecting the products of geographical indication, regulating the use of the names and exclusive indications of the products of geographical indication, and ensuring the quality and special characteristics of the products”.
The procedure to obtain the registration as a GI before the AQSIQ is complex. Once the application is filed and the authority positively completes its formal examination, the AQSIQ informs the public of its receipt. Within two months from this announcement, any interested third party may object to the application. Then, the AQSIQ carries out a technical examination of the application through an expert committee. Should the outcome of this examination be positive, the application is granted.