No 30

WTR Awards Café de Colombia’s Intellectual Property Strategy

August, 2015


WTR Awards Café de Colombia’s Intellectual Property Strategy

The recognition was awarded by the bi-monthly magazine World Trademark Review, an international reference on issues related to trademarks and intellectual property, based in London.

For its work in defense of Colombian coffee growers’ trademarks, including origin itself, and the value that these assets have gained in global markets, Café de Colombia’s Intellectual Property (IP) team was recognized as Latin America Team of the Year in the WTR Industry Awards.

The recognition was awarded by the London-based World Trademark Review magazine, an international benchmark on issues related to trademarks and intellectual property.

Café de Colombia’s team beat other important nominees such as the Chilean multinational supermarket chain Cencosud, the Mexican groups Bimbo and Televisa and the American multinational PepsiCo.

Representing over 563,000 coffee growers, mostly small producers, Café de Colombia manages a large brand portfolio and promotes the recognition and defense of Protected Geographical Indications such as Café de Colombia and different regional origins (Cauca, Nariño, Huila and Santander, among others) that guarantee unique attributes, which are valued and recognized in different markets.

“We are very proud to know that our IP team and strategy are internationally recognized by specialists in this field as key competitiveness factors for Colombian coffee growers,” said Luis F. Samper, Chief Communications and Marketing Officer of Café de Colombia.

Protecting the brand portfolio of Colombian coffee growers
The IP team is also responsible for coordinating Café de Colombia’s legal team, commercial division and Cenicafé (its R&D division), among others. Developing and protecting such an extensive brand portfolio involves numerous and continuous actions, including coordinating trademark agents in different countries.

Colombian coffee is exported to over 60 countries and has gained a solid reputation throughout the years. Café de Colombia frequently faces cases of unfair competition and abuse of reputation through the sale of blends or lower-quality coffees by third parties.

As an example of the success of Café de Colombia’s efforts in protecting the origin of Colombian coffees, the European Union’s Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM) recently banned the abuse of reputation of Colombian coffee in restaurants and coffee shops that sought to improperly use the name COLOMBUENO.

Another successful example took place in 2013 when the OHIM ruled in favor of Café de Colombia in a nullity action against the brand HUILA registered by two European citizens. The OHIM overturned the registration, which restricted the possibilities of generating added value to the Huila department’s coffee producers by making the pretended holders of the brand the single party allowed to commercialize the HUILA origin.

Another aspect worth noting is that Café de Colombia’s IP strategy protects the origin of Colombian coffee through an extensive licensing program of the Café de Colombia logo as an ingredient brand. The logo is currently commercialized in 2,131 packages of 100% Colombian coffee throughout all continents.


Similarly, 145 companies are authorized to use the Café de Colombia Protected Geographical Indication (Denomination of Origin).

In addition to developing transliterations for different languages, brands must adapt their applications and franchise models to the different markets where they operate. “This entails ensuring that our partners around the world understand our legal objectives, our policy and our philosophy, which all revolve around adding value to Colombian coffee growers, the actual owners of the brands,” Samper remarked.

“This recognition of Café de Colombia’s IP strategy encourages us to continue working not only for the benefit of Colombian growers, but for all our customers worldwide who sell 100% Colombian coffee,” he concluded.




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