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Protection of Designation of Origin and Geographical Indications

The purpose of the Fostering Agricultural Markets Activity (FARMA) is to provide technical assistance in Bosnia Herzegovina (BiH) subsectors of agriculture markets through demand driven assistance aimed at improved competitiveness of BiH agricultural and food products. FARMA is to expand environmentally sustainable production, processing and sales of value-added agricultural and food products. The expected result of FARMA is economic growth and contribution to poverty reduction.

A geographical indication (GI) is the right allowing for the registration of indications which identify the goods as originating in a certain territory, region or a locality in such territory, where a given quality, reputation or other characteristic of the goods is attributable to its geographical origin. International trade made it important to try to harmonize the different approaches and standards that governments used to registers GIs. An important agreement is the 1958 Lisbon Agreement on the Protection of Appellations of Origin and their Registration. Also, in 1994, when negotiations on the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (‘TRIPS’) were concluded, governments of all WTO member countries had agreed to set certain basic standards for the protection of GIs in all member countries. The EU has also addressed the protection of agricultural and food products through specific regulations and has adopted a Council Regulation (EC) No. 510/2006 on the protection of geographical indications (PGI) and designations for origin (PDO) and Council Regulation (EC) No. 509/2006 for the protection of traditional specialities for agricultural products and foodstuffs intended for human consumption. According to these regulations, the EU has permitted the protection of agricultural and food products from third countries at the EU level under the condition that the legal framework within the EU is harmonized with Regulations (EC) No. 509/2006/EC and No. 210/2006/EC and that such products are, in the first instance, protected in the country of origin.

While Bosnia and Herzegovina is not yet a signatory of the Lisbon Agreement nor a WTO or an EU member, Bosnia and Herzegovina is moving towards WTO and EU membership. BiH is, however, a member of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), and the competent administration is listed as the Institute of Intellectual Property Rights of Bosnia and Herzegovina. In BiH there are two sets of legal frameworks implemented by the BiH Food Safety Agency and the BiH Institute of Intellectual Property Rights in agricultural/food products, which is creating some confusion and cost among producers that wish to protect their products. In the interest of providing accurate information to FARMA beneficiaries with respect to GI, FARMA held a series of meetings with the BiH Food Safety Agency, the BiH Institute for Intellectual Property Rights as well as the USAID Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Project and called in an independent expert who would assess the existing situation and suggest possible solutions with an aim to implement a single, clear system.

The purpose of the assignment is hence to assess the existing legal frameworks and procedures pertaining to the protection of designation of origin and geographical indications on food/agricultural products (including wine), in reference to relevant international agreements and WTO and EU requirements, and suggest a way to eliminate the current parallel/overlapping competencies with an aim to establish a clear, single system aligned with the EU acquis and international agreements.

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