Past 5th of August, Portugal has signed the Geneva Act, which amends the Lisbon Agreement and that protects Designations of Origin and Geographical Indications.
A Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) is the name of a region that designates agriculture goods or foodstuffs, taking into account the inherent and unique geographical characteristics and quality of the goods produced in said region, as well as human factors. A Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) is the name of a region that designates agriculture goods or foodstuffs, which possess a specific quality, reputation or other characteristic which can be attributed to the mentioned region.
Mozzarella di bufala is an example of a PDO from Italy, registered in the European Union and Roquefort cheese is a PGI. Other examples are Port Wine, Scotch Whisky or Café de Colombia.
The Lisbon Agreement, effective from 1966, ensures the cross-border protection of PDO and PGI, establishing an international union, run by the World Intellectual Property Organization, which provides for the international registration of PDO.
PDO and PGI help to strengthen the reputation of the region and of the goods there produced and as such deter free-riders from taking advantage of a known name to sell their own goods, limiting the possibility of the term becoming generic.
When in force, the Geneva Act will allow the international registration of PGI and that intergovernmental organizations join the Agreement. Furthermore it will strengthen the legal framework of the Lisbon System.
The next step for Portugal is ratification, which is required by 5 members, so that the Geneva Act comes into force.