September 2013, Vol. 3


ICANN Review of ".wine" and ".vin"

In 2011, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) proposed expanding the list of domains for sale to include “.wine” and “.vin” domain strings. This raised concerns that the delegation of such strings could lead to many wine regions forfeiting valuable protection of their names and increase consumer confusion. ICANN collected several comments requesting the organization review “.wine” and “.vin” domain names further before it designated management of these strings to private firms. The comment period closed in May 2013. The situation was made more complicated by a recent decision by the Chairman of the Government Advisory Committee (GAC) of ICANN as outlined in the September 13 Decanter article, “EU agriculture commissioner seeks freeze on .wine, .vin domain registration.”

This is a fluid situation that a number of Declaration signatory regions are watching closely. In August, the Napa Valley Vintners issued a press release stating it was “petitioning ICANN to ensure adequate safeguards are put in place before it proceeds with the expansion of available domain names to include .wine and .vin.”

For more information, visit http://www.icann.org/. If you would like to discuss this issue further with other signatory regions, please email us at info@protectplace.com.
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U.S.-EU Hold First Round of Negotiations on TTIP
In July, the U.S. and EU embarked on the first round of negotiations on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). Though the week-long talks focused almost exclusively on organizational issues, protection of wine growing place names will be included among the discussions to follow. According to Riccardo Ricci Curbastro, president of the European Federation of Origin Wines, the need for “better protection of European GIs in the United States” is “even more relevant given that the U.S. market represents a real challenge for the European wine sector. Today a growing number of our names are usurped and it is a great loss from an economic standpoint, but also in terms of reputation and consumer confidence in our wines.” All observers expect the negotiations to take place over multiple years.


        Napa Valley

Napa Valley Secures Trade Mark Registration in New Zealand
Earlier this year, Napa Valley Vintners received trade mark protection in New Zealand. This agreement will protect consumers from incorrectly labeled wines and ensure that all Napa Valley wines imported into New Zealand are clearly and accurately labeled. New Zealand joins other countries including Brazil, Canada, India, Thailand, and China to officially protect the Napa Valley brand.

Napa Valley Obtains Certification Mark Protection in Norway
In August, the Napa Valley Vintners (NVV) announced it has obtained certification mark protection for the Napa Valley name in the country of Norway, another milestone for the trade association in its efforts to protect consumers from deceptive wine labeling practices. For more than a decade, from crafting California’s Napa Name Law in 2000 and defending its integrity against various appeals, including at the U.S. Supreme Court level, this latest achievement is another in the NVV’s effort to proactively protect the Napa Valley name from misuse.


Champagne Receives Further Protection in China
The movement to end purposeful mislabeling and misuse of wine place names reached yet another significant milestone in May when China announced it will officially recognize Champagne as a protected geographic indicator. This move will protect Champagne from counterfeit products aimed at misleading consumers while also sending the very important message that origin does matter. China has become Champagne’s fastest-growing market in recent years, shipping more than two million bottles to the country in 2012, and now joins other countries including Australia, India, Mexico and South Africa who protect the Champagne brand. Last year, Napa Valley made history when it became the first wine region in China to receive recognition as a geographic indicator.

Brazil Officially Recognizes and Protects Champagne's Trademark
During a ceremony at the French Consular Residency at São Paulo this April, Brazil officially joined a growing international community of countries to recognize Champagne as a unique wine from Champagne, France. Brazil is ranked 10th among Champagne consuming countries outside of the European Union, and in 2011 broke the symbolic barrier of 1 million imported bottles of Champagne, positioning itself as a key future market for significant growth and development of commercial Champagne beyond Europe.

Canada Set to Officially Protect Champagne Name
On January 1, 2014, Canadian law will be updated to require all wines sold in Canada labeled Champagne truly come from Champagne, France. Most Canadian wine producers stopped using “Champagne” and other wine growing place names (Sherry, Port, etc.) many years ago, but the January 1 milestone will make the change official.



Sonoma Conjunctive Labeling Law Takes Effects January 1, 2014
In 2010, the California State Legislature unanimously approved legislation to establish a conjunctive labeling law for wines labeled with winegrowing areas located in Sonoma County. As of January 1, 2014, all wine produced in Sonoma’s AVA must include “Sonoma County” on the label. This change in law strengthens Sonoma’s position as a recognized wine region and will further protect the Sonoma brand.

European wines seek geographical indication tag in India, (Nagaland Post)
Popular European wine brands are making a beeline for geographical indication (GI) registration in India. This comes at a time when the country is considering a steep cut in the import duty on wines and spirits currently pegged at 150% as it negotiates a free trade agreement with the European Union.

Brussels Update: Talks on Wine Names, (Western Morning News)
Trade talks between the EU and the USA must ensure protection for European geographical indication wines, according to European producers. At present current rules allow the US to "free-ride" on their fame. The European Federation of Origin Wines said they hoped for better protection for their wine names. But the US market considers a large number of the EU's protected wine labels as generic.

End of The content

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