Saturday, 3 April 2010

Ethiopian coffee trade marks prevail - in Japan

The African Press Agency reports (via Net News Publisher) that a Japanese court has overturned a decision of teh Japanese trade marks office cancelling registration of Sidamo and Yirgacheffe as trade marks. The All Japan Coffee Association challenged the registration on the grounds that the names were geographical, referring to where the coffee came from.
I am partial to Sidamo, and will now be looking out for Yirgacheffe to try - but the Sidamo coffee in the cupboard in our kitchen bears a Sainsbury brand. I can't help feeling that the trade mark system is being misused on both sides here: that these aren't names that are apt to be registered as trade marks, but at the same time that there's no reason why the All Japan Coffee Association should be resisting it. After all, they are (surely) not proposing to label coffee not grown in those areas of Ethiopia with those names?
Both are registered as CTMs, and have been for some years, in the name of the Government of Ethiopia. They don't seem to have PDOs or PGIs, but perhaps they are just doing the best they can with the means available at the time.

No comments:


blogger templates | Make Money Online