Strengthening the protection of geographical indications (GIs) is one of 72 topics chosen from key proposals of the 14th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) this year. Focusing on the above topic, the 14th CPPCC National Committee held its eighth biweekly consultative seminar in Beijing recently,pooling wisdom on solving difficulties and weaknesses bothering GI administration and protection and finding new path.
Promoting high-level GI protection
China invokes two modes to protect GIs- special protection and trademark protection, both of which have their own features and strengths. Devoid of uniform standards and procedures,however, causes repeated protection and unsettled right holders,begging the legislation of a law dedicated to GI.
In light of the situation, the China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) will hasten the legislative process, formulate a GI legal system fitting China's situation, coordinate the relation between protection on GI product, trademark protection and quality control, and integrate and synchronize the above two modes to amplify the effect, according to CNIPA Commissioner Shen Changyu at the seminar.
An increasing number of "red labels" can be found at prominent positions of product display at expos or retail markets thanks to a stretch of China's emphatic measures in unification and standardization of the use of GI special symbols. Since enacting the reform on the use and certification of GI special symbols in 2019, the CNIPA has delegated the certification power to provincial IP administrations,further matching GI production companies' needs in using the symbols.As of the end of June 2023, China had certified a cumulative number of over 25,000 business entities to use GI special symbols.
The development of GI products also relies on casting eyes on the world.In the past few years, China has been executing signed GI agreements including the one with the European Union (EU), and promoting mutual recognition and protection of GI products with the EU, France and Thailand to deepen GI international cooperation.Among other things, China and the EU have completed the publication of the second batch of 350 Chinese and EU GI products that would be mutually recognized and protected.Shen added at the seminar that the CNIPA will actively participate in GI norm setting under the multilateral framework by tabling Chinese proposals,contributing Chinese wisdom and defending Chinese interests.
Driving economic growth of rural specialities
As of the end of June 2023, China had certified a cumulative number of 2,498 GI products, 80% of which were agricultural and forestry products and food, proving that most GI products are local rural specialities. It is safe to say the quality of the use of GIs ties heavily with development and prosperity of the rural industry and profound implementation of the rural revitalization strategy.
In recent years, the CNIPA has been constantly upgrading the use of GIs and invoking the GI tools to aide revitalization of rural areas on the basis of implementing the GI utilization and promotion projects. Since announcing the list of the first batch of key GIs that would receive guidance for use in 2021, the CNIPA has been gradually giving guidance to more recipients,enabling GIs to contribute significantly to revitalize rural areas and promote economic development with unique regional strengths.
"Da Hong Pao of Mount Wuyi,Mao Feng of Yellow Mountain, Long Jing of West Lake - These are historically big names of tea. But can consumers distinguish whether they are from genuine origins? My answer is 'No'," He Yixin, Member of the CPPCC and Chair of Board of Wuyistar Tea referred to the problem haunting GI products at the seminar.
Inflicting higher prices upon infringers and lowering the rates of infringement may usher GI brands onto a path of healthy development. He Yixin advised the installment of a GI use and exit mechanism featuring strict certification and loose removal of title and a GI product retraceable system. On the one hand, data standards should be unified to allow GI data's connection and sharing across the country; On the other hand, strict measures should be executed on retracing GIs, and big data and WeChat mini- programs can be used to allow consumers to search information.
GI is more than an important type of IPRs, but an embodiment of the humanism of a country and its people.With the continuing advancement of China's efforts in GI, more authentic "rustic taste" GI products are expected to venture out of the country and take on the world stage.
Diverse GIs in splendid China
Mouth- watering food, aromatic tea, delicate handicraft, quality geoherbs... On this land, an abundance of rural specialities armed with GIs dress up villages and decorate people's life. The following part selects some very Chinese GI products to show their customs to readers.
Chinese Thorowax Root becoming a money cow
As one of the three major production areas of Chinese Thorowax Root, Hebei's She County is cultivating the Thorowax Root-based Chinese medicine herb industry into a money cow. It acquired GI protection in 2016 and was registered as a GI certification mark in 2019.
Lasting flavor of Mao Feng tea of Yellow Mountain
Since its induction into the second group of GIs claiming mutual recognition and protection under the China - EU GI protection and cooperation agreement, Anhui's Mao Feng tea of Yellow Mountain has been making its name on the international market. It acquired GI protection in 2002 and was registered as a GI certification mark in 2017.
Deft hands weaving Qingshen bamboo
Qingshen Bamboo Weaving, a technique excelled by local craftsmen in Qingshen County of Sichuan Province, can be classified into five categories- graphic, three-dimensional,porcelain body, simulation bamboo weaving and bamboo furniture, which carry over 3,000 kinds of products. In 2011, it acquired GI protection.
Tasty Dingxi potato glass noodles
Dingxi Wide Glass Noodles have a crystal and transparent appearance and a smooth and crisp taste. In recent years, authorities of Dingxi City of Gansu Province have been inspiring scale development of the glass noodle industry and cultivating consumers' habit of eating their glass noodles. In 2023, it was registered as a GI certification mark.