Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Protection for Geographical Indication

17 June 2011

The Living Letter by Alvin Buenaventura of FILCOLS
Translated from Filipino by Beverly W. Siy

The symbols, names and brands that show the place where a particular product came from are called geographical indication.

Products that are unique and of high quality come from highly skilled, creative and talented people. And some towns or places become popular because of these people and their products.

For example, the town of Marikina is very popular because of the pairs of shoes it produces. They are beautiful and durable. The shoe manufacturing companies located in Marikina are the only ones that may use the brand, symbol or name “Made in Marikina.”

It is common for consumers to buy a product because the place where it came from is well-known for creating or manufacturing that product.

There are many people who even go to a town just to buy its products. The best example would be your mother-in-law who loves to go to Liliw, Laguna just to shop for a pair of Liliw slippers.

Consumers are deceived if a pair of shoes or slippers made in Pateros or China still carry the words Made in Marikina/Liliw or the name Marikina/Liliw on it.

The shoes of Marikina and slippers of Liliw are products of people who live in those towns. The products are their means of livelihood. That is why the government must give them protection.

Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines or the IPO PHL grants protection to these products through trademark. But the owner of the trademark must register it with the IPO PHL first. According to IPO PHL IEC materials, the trademark enjoys a 10-year term of protection, which can be renewed for succeeding periods of 10 years.

If the government fails to give protection to the livelihood of our fellowmen in Marikina, in Liliw and in other places, there is a big possibility that legit companies from these towns will experience a major slump in their businesses. This will eventually lead to unemployment, major decrease in the tax that would be collected by the government, and high crime rates.

The appellation of origin will be discussed in the next issue of The Living Letter.

Authors, publishers or heirs of copyright owners are invited to join FILCOLS. We will help you protect your copyright over your works. To join, one only needs to have published works, or one must be the heirs of an author or has the right to manage the rights of an author. Membership is free. If you have queries, email us at filcols@gmail.com.

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