Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Thai GI achieves EU protection

IP Komodo has often been disappointed by the lack of interest from SE Asian governments in protection of their domestic IP internationally (well perhaps Singapore aside). See here for previous concerns.

So here is a tale of SE Asian IP success. Thai Hom Mali rice is a Thai speciality; a non glutinous naturally aromatic white rice variety grown in 5 specific provinces of Thailand. In 1959 they registered the name as a Geographical Indication in Thailand and later on in several other Asian countries. Thailand has for some time been keen on GI Protection for its food and artisan products.

Now through a European Commission regulation Khao Hom Mali Thung Kula Rong-Hai has been accorded EU protected GI status. It was granted by the European Commission under the European Council regulation no. 510/2006. After publication in the EU GI Gazette in 2010, the Governments of Belgium, France, Italy, Netherlands and the UK filed objections. They argued that “Khao Hom Mali” is a generic term and requested it be packaged outside of Thung Kula Rong-Hai area, including in Europe. But in February 2013 the oppositions were rejected and the GI was granted.

Believed to be the first EU GI from Thailand or even South East Asia this GI shows what local industries can do with their IP if they put their minds to it.


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