Laws around geographical indicators might be slow in development but never sleep. Here is the big news from May-June 2017:

1. EU seeks protection for 906 new GIs in Australia

The Agriculture and Rural Development of the European Commission of the EU has filed an application in Australia under reg 57 of the Australian Grape and Wine Authority Regulations1981 (AWGA Regulations), seeking the determination of a substantial number of wine geographical indications (GI).

The main cause of concern is the sheer number of GIs that the EU is seeking to address. The list is too lengthy to cover here (the full list can be found here ). Some of these names will be immediately recognisable to even unsophisticated wine drinkers – “Port”, “Sherry”, “Chianti”, and “Chablis grand cru”, There may be instances where the terms that the EU wants to be protected have passed into common use in Australia.

The AWGA Regulations allow written objections to be submitted up to and until the 22 August 2017 deadline (reg 57 of the AGWA Regulations under the grounds of objection set out in reg 58 of the AGWA Regulations.) Objections can also be submitted electronically via IP Australia’s “eServices.” Objections, whether submitted traditionally or electronically, must be accompanied by a fee of $500.

2. Meanwhile, in China

The PRC General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine has issued a new GI regulation which covers foreign GIs: the Protection Regulation on Products of Foreign Geographical Indications (the “Regulation”). The Regulation sets out, amongst other things, the qualification requirements for an applicant; the process of the evaluation and approval; and the administration requirements for using the GI. Foreign geographical indications will enjoy the same degree of protection within the PRC as Chinese geographical indications.