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22 February 2021
The government is taking significant steps to formalise its burgeoning regime for the protection of geographical indications (GIs). On 20 November 2020 it deposited with the director general of the World Intellectual Property Organisation its instrument of accession to the Geneva Act of the Lisbon Agreement on Appellations of Origin and Geographical Indications. The Geneva act came into force in Laos on 20 February 2021.
The act provides for the protection of GIs and appellations of origin in over 30 jurisdictions which are covered by the Geneva system. Protection is provided through a single registration procedure and one set of fees, facilitating international trade of origin products. Laos's accession enables overseas producers of origin products to take advantage of this simplified process. This should lead to more GIs of foreign origin being officially registered in Laos, as well as Laotian products obtaining registration overseas.
The announcement came in conjunction with the news that Scotch whisky has become the second GI to be officially recognised in Laos, following champagne's groundbreaking registration in April 2019. Traditionally, the European Union has always led the expansion of GIs as a protected IP right, monetising the local origin of goods as a marker of distinctiveness and quality. With the Geneva act covering all 27 EU states, this news will be of particular interest to EU investors in Laos.
For further information on this topic please contact Ian Mirandah at Mirandah Asia by telephone (+60 322 788 686) or email (email@example.com). The Mirandah Asia website can be accessed at www.mirandah.com.
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