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Local trademarks need safeguarding

Update: April, 23/2013 - 09:48
Fish sauce produced by the Hong Dai Enterprise in the town of Duong Dong in southern Kien Giang Province's Phu Quoc Island District. A geographical indications system has been developed in the country to protect the patent rights of its famous traditional products. — VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Vu

HA NOI (VNS)— Viet Nam has been developing a geographical indication system to safeguard the patent rights of the country's famous traditional products with a hope that the new system will help boost production and trade of the country's unique produce.

Speaking at an EU seminar yesterday on Geographical Indications (GI), the vice-director general of the National Office of Intellectual Property, Tran Huu Nam, said that the country had certified 35 unique GIs.

A GI is a name or symbol on the packaging of a product certifying that it possesses a certain guaranteed quality due to its geographical origin and the traditional methods used in its creation. Products bearing a GI prove particularly attractive to buyers.

Nam estimated that the country has around 1,000 traditional agricultural products and produce with a fine reputation for quality and an association with a particular region, and declared that in the near future they should be assigned GIs.

"GIs help consumers find authentic products, thus boosting the production and trade of traditional goods," he said. "They also play an important role in the development of agriculture, rural areas and the quality of local products."

Famous certified GIs include Phu Quoc fishauce, Shan Tuyet Moc Chau tea, Buon Ma Thuat Coffee, Doan Hung grapefruit and Binh Thuan green dragon fruit.

The Ambassador-head of the EU delegation, Franz Jessen, said that GIs would guarantee the quality of Vietnamese agricultural products in the EU.

He noted that Viet Nam was among only a few countries to achieve export growth to the EU in the last few years, and this growth would help push the negotiation process for a bilateral trade agreement between Viet Nam and the EU.

Consultant Audrey Aubard said that GIs were good for all parties. "A GI is an instrument to fight against fraud and counterfeit products," she said, noting that they benefited producers, consumers, society and the environment.

For example, to producers, GI protect valuable trademarks and products can be sold at higher prices than non-GI ones, ensuring fair competition.

The social impacts can be found in the link between valuable products and rural areas, reconnecting consumers and producers, and protecting traditional agricultural techniques.

Deputy head of the Institute of Policy and Strategy for Agriculture and Rural Development Vu Trong Binh said that GI development in Viet Nam faced many difficulties because consumers knew too little about them and co-operation among sectors was still poor.

He said that the indicators had been mostly used to protect intellectual property, but they should also be seen as an instrument to boost agriculture production. — VNS


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