Rum appellation of origin RON DE VENEZUELA registered
The Venezuelan Trademark Office (TO) has registered RON DE VENEZUELA ('Rum of Venezuela') as an appellation of origin in the name of the State of Venezuela. The appellation is to be used by Venezuelan rum producers that (i) are based in specific areas, and (ii) comply with the norms and conditions to be drafted and audited by a special council (Decision 798, Trademark Gazette 459, Volume IV).
Andean Community Decision 486 on a Common Intellectual Property Regime defines an appellation of origin as:
"a geographical indication consisting of the name of a particular country, region, or locality, or of a name which, without being that of a particular country, region, or locality, refers to a specific geographical area, [whose] name is used to identify a product originating therein, the qualities, reputation, or characteristics of which are exclusively or essentially attributable to the geographical environment in which it is produced, including both natural and human factors."
When applying for the registration, the Chamber of the Venezuelan Industry of Alcoholic Species (CIVEA) submitted, among other things, the following evidence:
- documents explaining the rum manufacturing and aging processes;
- documents showing the export of Venezuelan rum to various countries; and
- information and brochures on Venezuela's most traditional and prestigious rum producing companies, including maps of Venezuela depicting areas where rum is manufactured, as well as areas where the raw ingredients for rum (eg, sugar cane) are grown.
The TO found that these documents showed (i) the existence of geographical and climate conditions that differentiate the production of Venezuelan rums from those produced in other areas of the world, resulting in a better quality rum, and (ii) proven knowledge and tradition in the manufacture of rum and growing of sugar cane in Venezuela, all of which have helped to improve the quality of Venezuelan rum and the ability to produce rum with unique characteristics. Accordingly, the TO declared that:
- RON DE VENEZUELA is an appellation of origin to be applied to rum for the benefit of the members of CIVEA.
- RON DE VENEZUELA can be applied to rum and its raw ingredients (sugar cane and molasses) produced in the following Venezuelan states: Aragua, Barinas, Carabobo, Cojedes, Lara, Miranda, Monagas, Portuguesa, Sucre, Tachira, Trujillo and Yaracuy.
- The appellation may only be used by parties that are (i) authorized by the TO, and (ii) directly engaged in the rum manufacturing process in the areas of Venezuela described above.
- Parties authorized to use the appellation of origin should create a council to draft norms and procedures to check the appellation's use and quality control.
- The validity of the appellation of origin will be maintained as long as the conditions considered and cited by the TO are maintained.
Ricardo Fischer, Hoet Pelaez Castillo & Duque, Caracas
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