Café Tero vs Café de Colombia

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The Café de Colombia brand, a pioneer in certificates of origin, obtained its name in 2005. Due to its particular condition, it’s under protection, and that consists of stopping anyone from registering any sign that reproduces, imitates or contains a certificate of origin. Therefore, the Superintendency of Industry and Commerce decided to refuse registration of the brand Cafe Tero requested by Inox Sentry.

“I consider the decision to be a little exagerated given that the National Federation of Coffee-growers has a monopoly on the evocations, “Colombia” and “café”. Only for having the word of the product associated with the national flag, it makes reference to the certificate of origin. I believe that it’s an incorrect interpretation on behalf of SIC”, said a lawyer specialized in industrial property, Lola Kandelaft, from the Muños Abogados firm.

The lawyer Javier Delgadillo, also a specialist in the field of law, from the firm Q&D Abogados, takes an opposite view. “I share SIC’s decision because the registration of a brand should be denied if if reproduces the concept of a protected certificate of origin.”

He also adds that “the decision was successful because the protections don’t limit themselves to signs that reproduce its name, but rather it encompasses any graphic representation or any other representation that may evoke the same concept.

A certificate of origin is the name or indication of a geographic location, that may be a country or determined region, which designates a product that by being originated from said region, and by the customs of production or transformations of its inhabitants, has characteristics or a reputation that makes it different from similar products coming from other geographic regions.

On the list headed by Café de Colombia for certificates of origin, are Café de Cauca, Café de Nariño, Café de Huila, Chalupa del Huila, Queso del Caquetá, Queso Paipa, Bizcocho de Achira del Huila, Clavel de Colombia, Crisantemo de Colombia and Rosa de Colombia.

On this occasion, the lawsuit was started against Café de Colombia on October 16, 2013, when Inox Sentry requested from SIC the registration of its brand Café Tero to distinguish its grain, which is included in class 30 of the International Nice Classification.

Once the request was published, the Federation presented its opposition citing pertanent laws. First, they say that “they are registrable signs which may mislead trade circles or the public, particularly in regards to geographical origin, nature, manufacturing process, characteristics, qualities or suitability for employment of related products or services.”

Second, “one cannot register items that reproduce, imitate or contain a protected certificate of origin.”

The opposition says “in virtue of the declaration of the protection of the Café de Colombia certificate of origin, no third party can register or use a merging of these expressions.”

Facing of the decision of the Department to refuse registration of the brand, Inox Sentry appealed. However, on appeal the denial was upheld.” – Source (ES)

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