No 30

Protection Colombian Coffee

October, 2011

The Colombian Coffee Growers Federation (FNC) has made a constant effort to protect the Colombian coffee origin and to offer quality guarantees to customers around the world. To achieve this, a number of legal instruments are used to prevent third parties from unfairly using Colombian coffee’s reputation. 

In the framework of promotion and protection of Colombian coffee, the FNC has implemented both legal tools that are appropriate for the product and also viable and applicable in the territories in which Colombian coffee needs protection. Colombia is the first country of origin that has deployed similar initiatives.

To date Colombian Coffee has three types of legal instruments that prohibit third parties from describing their coffee as Colombian Coffee without meeting the necessary requirements. And therefore taking unfair advantage of the reputation built by Colombian coffee producers.  The legal instruments are:

  • Trademark
  • Certification Mark
  • Geographical Indications

Richard L. Sandhusen, a marketing expert, defines a trademark as a brand name or logo that is legally protected by a trademark registration in the competent authority of each country. In this context, the Colombian Coffee triangular Logo has achieved those registrations in approximately 140 countries around the world.

So, the roasters who want to use the Colombian Coffee Logo as Ingredient Brand, may request authorization to use it through a Trademark License Agreement,  becoming members of the 100% Café de Colombia program.

Certification Mark

According to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), certification marks are a distinctive sign to be applied to goods or services whose quality or other characteristics are controlled, verified or certified. Before export, Colombian Coffee must comply with these different quality requirements.

Colombian Coffee has certification marks in important markets such as the U.S. and Canada. Additionally the process of obtaining this instrument in other major markets in the world is underway.

Geographical Indications

Geographical Indications (GIs) are also known in some countries as Denominations of Origin (DO) or Protected Geographical Indications (PGIs). These legal instruments represent and demonstrate the link between the quality of a product and its origin, fulfilling a promise of quality and tradition to customers and consumers. 

Currently known as intangible legal assets subject to certain regulation, GIs/DO are much more than that. They are instruments that guarantee that behind an extraordinary product we find the authenticity and effort of a population of a region or country that also has extraordinary environmental conditions.

Colombian Coffee has had the protection of Denomination of Origin in Colombia since 2005, and its recognition is extended to countries belonging to the Community of Andean Nations (CAN). Similarly it has been protected as a Protected Geographical Indication by the European Commission since October 2007. Since then Colombian coffee became the first food product from a country not belonging to the European Union to receive this distinction.  This legal instrument protects all member countries of the European Union.

Roasters who want to be part of the group of authorized users of IGs/DO Colombian Coffee can contact us by email (JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) for further and more detailed information on the procedures for becoming an authorized user.

You are invited to learn more about our coffee family and our products, visiting the BEAN & BEYOND sections on the top of this page.