Thursday, June 23, 2011

Protection of Appellations of Origin

23 June 2011

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

Protection of Appellations of Origin

Have you ever tried a shot of Tequila?

Yes? Were you able to beat the bottle or was it you who got beaten up?

Tequila is a very popular (and notorious!) alcoholic drink in night clubs and bars around the world. But I’ll bet most of the people who love this drink don’t have any idea that Tequila is a name of a place in Mexico. A plant called agave grows there abundantly. Agave is the main ingredient of the famous liquor Tequila.

Tequila is a kind of Intellectual Property (IP) that is being given protection by the government. It is under Industrial Property as appellation of origin. It means that the place where a product comes from is so popular and it is what the producers and consumers mention even if what they really refer to is the product.

Because of this, the name of the place becomes the product brand as well. They become one.

Appellation of origin is also a geographical indication used to identify where food and drink products come from.

For products that are not edible nor drinkable, the protection would still be called geographical indication. Examples are Marikina shoes and Swiss watch.

And here’s a reminder for you: to use somebody else’s mark or brand without permission from the mark or brand owner is illegal and a violation of their rights. And nobody may put the mark Tequila on liquor products if the products do not come from Tequila, Mexico. This will result to deceitful marketing if there’s no truth in the product branding.

So the next time your father-in-law asks for a gift in the form of intoxicating beverage, give him an authentic Pinoy drink. Let him choose between tuba and lambanog.

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

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