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By Andrea Ringle, ECTA Geographical Indications Committee Secretary, BRL Boege Rohde Luebbehuesen mbB (DE)

On 18 January 2021 the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) announced ‘Kampot Pepper’ being the first geographical indication (GI) registered via the Geneva Act of WIPO's Lisbon System, which provides protection for names identifying the geographic origin of agricultural and non-agricultural products.

The Lisbon System is a powerful legal and economical tool for local producers to market and protect their products with a strong geographical link and quality worldwide. By means of a single registration procedure, the holder of a domestic appellation of origin or GI may obtain the protection of the registered name in the other Contracting Parties of the Lisbon System. This means that local producers have the possibility to enforce their rights in more than 30 countries, including the Member States of the European Union. This also works the other way around as European GI’s gain easy access to territories that would be difficult to reach by individual means, such as Cambodia.

After joining as the first contracting party of the Geneva Act of the Lisbon Agreement, Cambodia is also the first applicant registering a GI under the Geneva Act.

About Kampot Pepper:

Kampot Pepper (ម្រេចកំពត) is protected as a GI in Cambodia and identifies a specific product originating in some districts of southern Cambodia whose quality and reputation is attributable to its geographical origin.

The Product Specification provides detailed information on the historical background, geographical link and the production of the Protected Geographical Indication ‘Kampot Pepper’. There are four different types of Kampot Pepper depending on the time of harvesting and the processing they receive afterwards: Green pepper / Black pepper / Red pepper / White pepper. The characteristic of the Kampot Pepper lies in its strong (but not ‘burning’) pungency, not aggressive but developing progressively in the mouth. Besides the spicy character, its aromatic intensity gives its particular quality.

Further Legal Background:

The Lisbon Agreement, concluded in 1958, revised at Stockholm in 1967 and amended in 1979, provides for the protection of appellations of origin, that is the ‘geographical denomination of a country, region, or locality, which serves to designate a product originating therein, the quality or characteristics of which are due exclusively or essentially to the geographic environment, including natural and human factors’. Such denominations are registered by the International Bureau of WIPO in Geneva upon the request of the competent authority of a Contracting State. The International Bureau keeps the International Register of Appellations of Origin and formally notifies the other Contracting States of the registrations.

The Geneva Act of the Lisbon Agreement, adopted on 20 May 2015 and entered into force on 26 February 2020, completes the Lisbon System by allowing the international registration of GIs in addition to appellations of origin through a single registration procedure with WIPO. Since relevant members such as the European Union and the African Intellectual Property Organization (OAPI) joined the Geneva Act, the Lisbon System recently gained new international importance for GIs.

Registrations under the Lisbon System are published in the official Bulletin and can be searched through the Lisbon Express Database.


The views expressed are those of our members and not necessarily of ECTA as an association. The content has not been subjected to a verification process, the accuracy of the information contained in the article is responsibility of the author.
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