Peru has increased the standards it requires in terms of the formal and substantial requirements to be submitted in proceedings for declaring a designation of origin.
In the most recent applications, the competent authority for declaring a Peruvian designation of origin – the INDECOPI Office of Distinctive Signs (DSD) – has requested compliance with new requirements for designations of origin.
The object of this level of demand is to strengthen future recognition of said designations of origin abroad.
Among the important main requirements requested by the DSD are the following:
1. Documentation must be presented that verifies that the products encompassed by the designation of origin are designated with the designation applied for in the market in which the products are marketed.
The DSD considers that designations of origin are declared or recognised, which is why it must be verified that the designation is being used.
In Peru, numerous association of producers, cooperatives, local and regional governments, NGOs and regional offices of national authorities have identified designations of origin as a development tool, which makes it possible to drive a local product and to combat unfair competition and use of another partys goodwill. The designation of origin is considered a tool for regional development, more than an acknowledgement of an already fully achieved development.
Another difficulty for complying with this requirement may be lack of documentation due to the highly informal nature of local and regional markets. In such cases, the requirement can be complied with by submitting letters and sworn statements from producers, exporters, buyers and authorities, among others.
2. Detail the “specific” characteristics, and “clarify and support whether or not it is possible to obtain the product with “the same characteristics” in another geographical area”.
With regard to this requirement, the importance of comparative studies must be stressed. It is not enough to merely demonstrate the specific characteristics of a product and how they impact the natural and human factors of the geographic zone. It must also be shown that the same products coming from other geographic zones do not have these specific characteristics, also analysing environmental differences. In relation to these studies, the statistical analysis required to prove the validity of the conclusions is notable.
3. Provide evident proof that the quality, reputation or goodwill and other characteristics of the products are due exclusively or essentially to the geographic medium in which the coffee was produced, including human and natural factors.
The DSD requires that the existence of three requirements – quality, reputation and other characteristics – is proved, although it is evident from the wording of the standard that these are alternative requirements. The demonstration of the “characteristics” of the products can be based on the aforementioned comparative technical studies. However, demonstrating that the “quality” and “goodwill” are due to the geographic medium requires additional tools specific to each application.
These requirements have been presented by the competent authority in recent applications for declarations of designation of origin, and should be taken into consideration for future cases. The authoritys aim is that Peruvian designations of origin have a solid foundation when the time comes to apply for their recognition abroad.