February 21, 2024

Latest Issues Regarding Geographical Indications in Brazil

A Geographical Indication (GI) is an intellectual property asset used to associate products or services to a specific geographical origin. The certification of GI not only generates competitive advantages and adds value to the goods, but also protects producers against unfair competition. A GI may also promote local economic development, by stimulating the local market and even boosting tourism. Furthermore, the recognition of the geographical region is also an encouragement for practices and public policies directed to the preservation of local biodiversity and culture.

In Brazil, the Industrial Property Law (IPL) is the national legislation that regulates issues regarding industrial property assets, including the registration of IGs. Regarding international treaties and agreements, Brazil is a signatory of the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, Madrid Agreement and TRIPS. Notably, the IPL was enacted in 1996 to align the national legislation to the provisions of TRIPS. Recently, on February of 2024, the BRPTO gathered with representatives of the USPTO to discuss issues related to a possible adhesion of Brazil to the Lisbon Agreement for the Protection of Appellations of Origin and their International Registration. The Lisbon Agreement provides the international protection of GIs through a single procedure with WIPO, and co-signing the agreement would represent a significant step towards the enforcement of international GI protections in Brazil.

According to the IPL,  in Brazil there are two categories of GI registrations, namely Indication of Origin (IP) and Denomination of Origin (DO). IP is the geographical name of a country, city, region or locality of its territory, which has become known as a center of extraction, production or manufacture of a determined product, or for providing a determined service. In order to grant protection, it’s necessary to submit to the BRPTO proofs that the region has a reputation associated to the good. On the other hand, DO stands for the recognition of a product or service, whose qualities or characteristics are essentially related to the geographical environment, including natural and human factors. For this instance, more robust material evidence is necessary, such as studies or laboratory tests, to prove that the distinguishing characteristics of the goods are effectively linked to natural conditions or local knowledge.

The first Geographical Indication (GI) was granted in Brazil back in 2002. Today, according to the BPTO’s database, there are more than 120 GIs registered, including 86 national Indications of Origin (IPs), and 35 Denominations of Origin (DOs), consisting of 26 national and 9 international registrations. Thus far, three new IGs have been granted in 2024.

The first IG published by the BRPTO in 2024 was “Camomila de Mandirituba” (Camomile of Mandirituba), the Indication of Origin recognized Mandirituba city as a center of production of dehydrated chamomile, used for tea preparation, essences, and pharmaceutical products .

Next on the list is the Denomination of Origin “Cachaça de Paraty” (Cachaça of the Paraty). Cachaça is a distilled sprit produced through the fermentation of sugar cane. Due to the climate conditions, soil type, and traditions related to know-how, the Cachaça produced in the region of the city of Paraty presents unique sensory characteristics, mainly related to scent and flavor. The product has become the first Brazilian distilled beverage registered as a DO.

The latest GI granted was the Indication of Origin “Linguiça Blumenau” (Blumenau Sausage). The geographic area comprises 16 cities in the state of Santa Catarina and has become known for its sausage production, whose characteristics are directly related to the influence of German colonization in the region. The production process uses pure smoked pork as a raw material and is resulted from the adaptation of knowledge brought by immigrants, becoming authentic, emblematic, and typical of the locality.

Given the observed trend over the past few years, it is expected that the number of annually granted registrations will increase in 2024 compared to the past. Furthermore, the prospect of Brazil adhering to the Lisbon Agreement may be an opportunity to add value and visibility to national goods in foreign markets, and an encouragement for international producers to seek the protection of their GIs in Brazil.