With nations realizing the crucial role played by intellectual property in shaping the economy, more and more countries are investing in bringing their policies and legislations at par with international standards. One such intellectual property is a geographical indication which is a sign used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin.[i] Famous geographical indications include Champagne, Scotch Whisky, Kolhapuri Chappals, amongst others.
Geographical indications play an important role in developing a country’s economy. They help in increasing exports by promoting the goods bearing Country’s geographical indications in international market. Furthermore, they protect consumers from deception by ensuring that they buy authentic goods, true to the claimed region, thereby promoting healthy and honest competition in trade & commerce.
Recently, Agence Française de Développement (AFD) agreed to contribute US$1.09 million, in an effort to improve the geographical indication system in Vietnam. This contribution is with respect to a three – year development project worth US$1.3 million, which was launched in Hanoi at an event organized by the Ministry of Science and Technology, Vietnam. It aims to improve the geographical indication registration and management system in Vietnam, and will be implemented by Vietnam’s Rural Development Center, the Center for Agrarian Systems Research and Development, and the French Agricultural Research Center for International Development.
The project is expected to incorporate the experiences of European countries including France to help build Vietnam an improved geographical indication system, by evidencing how geographical indications can be incorporated to increase the commercial viability of agricultural produce.
The geographical indication system in Vietnam is still at an initial stage. The success of this project will depend on the support provided by the Government of Vietnam. Currently Vietnam has a total of 46 geographical indications including Phu Quoc (fish sauce), Buôn Ma Thuột (coffee beans), Cognac (spirit), etc.