ARISE+ IPR hosted national seminars on Geographical Indications (GIs) in Brunei Darussalam and Hanoi, Viet Nam respectively on 18 September and 20 September, 2019.
The seminar in Brunei Darussalam was held to raise awareness among the Bruneian public and private sector on the benefits of a Geographical Indication (GI) sui-generis system. The seminar discussed the history, objectives and benefits of sui-generis GI systems whilst also sharing successful examples of ASEAN GIs and in the European Union.
Ms. Carolina Pitarch, Deputy Project Leader of ARISE+ IPR in her opening remarks spoke of the importance of GIs to ASEAN and EU producers as an intellectual property right and tool for market protection. Ms. Pitarch also mentioned the activeness of ASEAN in GI registration, as countries from the regional bloc have registered over 350 GIs, as of March 2019. Ms. Shahrinah Yusof Khan was also on hand to deliver welcoming remarks in her capacity as Head of the Brunei Intellectual Property Office.
During the seminar, several Bruneian products were identified as products with the potential for GI registration; namely ‘Madu Kelulut’ (wild honey from stingless bees), Agarwood (fragrant wood manufactured into essential oils and cosmetics) and Jongsarat (a Bruneian textile). The benefits of a Bruneian sui-generis GI system for these products and others was explained to representatives from both the private and public sector.
Hanoi, Viet Nam
The seminar in Hanoi, Viet Nam was well attended with representatives from both private sector and government officials responsible for GI protection and promotion in Vietnam. The seminar focussed on GI maintaining and controlling mechanisms, roles of collective management organisations, and especially the challenges and opportunities for Vietnamese GI producers under the recently signed EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement.
Addressing the opening remarks at the seminar, Dr. Carsten Schittek, Minister Counsellor – Head of Trade and Economic Section, EU Delegation to Vietnam, emphasized the EU support for the protection of geographical indications of ASEAN countries, a region famous for its richness in agricultural products and indigenous knowledge. He congratulated on the recently signed EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement, which will provide adequate framework to further promote the export of Vietnamese high quality GI products to the EU market.
During the seminar, there was a small exhibition where some prominent GI products were displayed. The exhibition served a chance for participating producers to tell the story behind their GI products and to further expand their knowledge and networking.