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Wednesday 2 October 2019

Patricia Covarrubia

Chile vs Peru: the battle over ‘Pisco’ continues

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The Peruvian Ministry of External Relations has issued a Press Release stating that Peru will appeal to the ruling of the Court of First Instance of Thailand against the registration of a Chilean association that intends to use the term Pisco.

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Given the news reports that advance the ruling of the Court of First Instance on Intellectual Property and International Trade of Thailand, it should be stressed that despite the exclusive ownership of the Peruvian Denomination of Origin Pisco in Thailand, said Court ruled that in that country you can use "Pisco Chile".
Peru considers that this first decision of the Thailand Court does lead to consumer confusion in that country, since the Pisco Denomination of Origin is Peruvian and this is confirmed by the historical, geographical, cultural and scientific arguments that our country supports and defends in all the world’s court.
In that sense, the ruling in the first instance will be appealed immediately by Peru, in order to continue opposing any attempt to register because these are obvious errors of fact and law.
A Pisco sour for a sour battle
Years of international dispute have persisted over the origin of Pisco which both Chile and Peru have produced since colonial times. Both countries recognize it in their own jurisdiction as a Denomination of Origin. Additionally, back in 2018, Chile was open to accepting the name of Peruvian Pisco if Peru accepted the name of Chilean Pisco – a qui pro quo that did not go far since Peru did not accept such a proposal.

The case brought appears straightforward. If the Thailandese Registry of Industrial Property recognized Pisco as a Denomination of Origin (DO) produced in Peru, it does then prevents the registration of the name and any marketing of Pisco within the Thailand market if it has not complied with the Peruvian national regulation. Clearly, if Pisco was not made in Peru it cannot be called as such. Well, it is not that simple. In India, the dispute over the name went over 9 years (finally won by Peru) and this appears to be the case now in Thailand. The dispute is over a year on, so get ready for a long battle.

The whisky exchange webpage (where I get my inspiration from:) ) notes that ‘Pisco is a grape brandy produced in Chile and Peru’. In the EU (oh BREXIT is coming…who will register first in the UK, Chile or Peru) both, Chile and Peru, were granted geographical indication. Chile had an association agreement (2002) where recognition was given, and then Peru applied for the registration of Pisco as GI (granted in 2013).

Patricia Covarrubia

Patricia Covarrubia