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March 16, 2005 

WTO Dispute Settlement Panel Sides with U.S. in E.U. Geographical Indications Case

The U.S. Trade Representatives Office today announced tha the World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute settlement panel has ruled that the European Union (E.U.) system for protecting certain geographical food names, known as geographical indications (GIs), as trademarks violates WTO agreements on protection of intellectual property rights and on trade in goods because it discriminates against non-E.U. products. The WTO panel also clarified the E.U. regulation by ruling that the E.U. could protect GI names only as registered and not foreign translations or linguistic variations of the registered name.

As a result of the WTO's ruling the E.U. will have to change its system to let the U.S. and other non-E.U. producers submit applications for GI protection to the E.U. registry.

The USTR's press release on the WTO's decision can be found at the following link:



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