The protection of origin marks in China and Japan
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A significant question in the debate about a registration system for geographical indications (GIs) for food products other than wine is whether Australian registered GIs could provide useful protection in important markets such as Japan and China. Those countries have both regional collective trade mark and sui generis GI registration options, as do other Asian nations. The GI registers are open to foreign applicants, but only where the application is based on a domestic registration in the source country. This is an argument in favour of establishing a GI register for food in Australia. The sui generis GI protection regimes in China and Japan also offer considerable forensic and substantive advantages compared to trade marks and reliance on unfair competition laws. IP protection is fairly absolute in a manner analogous to Australian wine GI laws, and the authorities are more engaged with policing and enforcement of GIs than of trade marks.
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