Scotch whisky becomes Vietnam's third foreign GI

Scotch whisky was registered as a geographical indication (GI) in Vietnam on November 19 2010. It is the third foreign GI to be protected in Vietnam - the first two being France's Cognac and Peru's Pisco wine, both of which are registered under the old appellation of origin procedure - and the first under procedures laid out by the Intellectual Property Law 2005.
At a formal ceremony held at the British ambassador's residence in Hanoi on December 14, the director general of the National Office of Intellectual Property (NOIP), Tran Viet Hung, presented the GI certificate to the new British ambassador, Antony Stokes LVO.
A GI indicates to consumers that a product is produced in a particular place and has a quality, reputation or other characteristics that are due to its geographical origin. GIs are protected in Vietnam under the Intellectual Property Law and Section III of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights.
Scotch whisky is produced in Scotland in accordance with UK legislation. With annual exports in excess of £3billion, it is one of the United Kingdom’s leading exports. The Scotch Whisky Association aims to protect the value and reputation of Scotch whisky, which have been built up over centuries as a result of strict controls and legislation governing its production and maturation methods. The registration of the GI specifically recognises that only whiskies that are produced in Scotland in accordance with strictly defined traditional methods are entitled to use the words 'Scotch whisky'. The GI will assist the Scotch Whisky Association in removing products from Vietnam’s marketplace which erroneously claim to be Scotch whisky.
Registration of the GI in Vietnam took over two years from start to finish. As the registration system is relatively new and very few foreign GIs are registered, the process required much discussion with the NOIP on various aspects relating to the production of Scotch whisky and the final product itself.
The protection of Scotch whisky as a GI in Vietnam is an important milestone. It will help to protect Scotch whisky in the region (GIs for Scotch whisky have already been registered in Malaysia and Thailand) and will also help protect consumers from fake products. The successful registration in Vietnam follows recent GI registrations for Scotch whisky in China (for further details please see "Scotch whisky obtains AQSIQ-administered GI protection") and Panama, also in November 2010.
It is hoped that this successful registration will encourage others to seek GI protection in Vietnam.
Hoai Nguyen, Rouse, Vietnam

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