Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Bolivia is Royal [at least, one of its products]

Royal QuinoaAt the end of August 2014, Bolivia achieved the recognition of ‘Quinoa Real’ (Quinoa Royal) as Denomination of Origin (DO) in the Andean Community (CAN). This means that the DO is also recognized by the other Andean Community Nations i.e. Peru, Colombia and Ecuador.


In 2013 Bolivia celebrated the ‘International Year of Quinoa’ -- declared as such by the United Nations in recognition of Andean indigenous peoples. There are several types of Quinoa (grain crops) which are produced in other Andean countries, but with this recognition, there will be only one ‘Quinoa Real’ and this is the one produced 100% in the Bolivian territory.

According to Decision 486, which is CAN communal regime in Intellectual Property, there are two types of Geographical Indication: DO and Indication of Source. Apart from this, there are certain issues regarding GI that are not common in other jurisdictions such as : such denominations are said to be “... a public good, it belongs inalienably and imprescriptibly to the nation or regional community, as the case may be, and its protection is usually the responsibility of the public authorities or the State...it is considered part of the national heritage, and ultimately under State control" [See 'Some Notes on the Protection of Appellation of Origin in Countries with Emerging Economies: The Andean Community, Symposium on the International Protection of Geographical Indication]. The other one issue is that GIs receive stricter protection like the one received by wines and spirits under TRIPS.

CAN has acknowledged DO to PISCO from Peru and now this is the time for another CAN country to have such a prestige. One might question why there have not been many applications (not even nationally). The consideration could start with the fact that many of the products that may be recognized are either agricultural products or artisan and most of them come from traditional knowledge. That said, the community that have produced the good would need to ask permission to the State to use a name that they believe is theirs in the first place (as in the case of CHIRIMOYA CUMBE, Memoria 1992-1999 INDECOPI, Lima, Perú.) Of course the analysis could also covers other matters such as: bureaucratic process and the lack of monetary resources, to name a few.

The next step: the Bolivian Ministry of Rural Development announced that the next challenge is to apply for a DO in the European Union.

Source La Razon , Bolivian newspaper (in Spanish)

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