Canada considers protecting European GIs for wines and spirits


Negotiations between Canada and the European Union may result in a bilateral agreement whereby Canada would remove 22 wine names and two spirit names from the lists of products referred to as 'generic' in Sections 11.18 (3) and (4) of the Canadian Trademarks Act.

Names appearing as generic under the Trademarks Act may not be protected in Canada as geographical indications (GIs), and may accordingly be used by Canadian wine and spirit producers and sellers as generic descriptions of the various types of product.

If Canada phases out the generic status of these wine and spirit names, they would no longer be barred from registration as GIs. As a result, unauthorized sale or use of wines or spirits labelled with these GIs could be prevented.

The wine names being considered for removal are Bordeaux, Bourgogne, Burgundy, Chablis, Champagne, Chianti, claret, Madeira, Malaga, Marsala, Medoc, Médoc, Moselle, Mosel, Port, Porto, Rhin, Rhine, Sauterne, Sauternes, sherry and Tokay. The spirit names being considered are Grappa and Ouzo.

Jennifer E McKay, Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP, Ottawa

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