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Protected Geographical Indications Café de Colombia

There are various instruments that provide a guarantee of origin to the Colombian Coffee. In countries where the Protected Geographic Indication Colombian Coffee is recognized apply certain rules and norms that are in essence similar to those that apply other instruments of guarantee of origin. In the case of certain countries of South America the legal instrument that grants that recognition is the Protected Denomination of Origin. Other countries, mainly in North America recognize Colombian Coffee as a Certification Mark, whilst through Ingredient Brand programs complementary efforts of guarantee of origin have been designed in all continents.

A Protected Geographic Indication (PGI) is a distinctive sign consistent of a specific geographic name used to identify a product that come from a specific origin, and whose quality is directly connected with that origin. To achieve PGI recognition it is not enough to just present a request to the authorities of the country where that protection is claimed. It is also necessary to attach to the request a whole set of data, information and documents that will demonstrate the connection between the origin and the quality of the product. Therefore, not any product of a specific origin is recognized as a PGI.

Consumers therefore perceive PGIs both as indicators of the origin and the quality of the products. Many PGIs have acquired a reputation that could be misused by dishonest companies. The dishonest use of PGIs by not authorized third parties attempts to both consumers and the legitimate producers' rights. Such activities are deceptive when consumers are made to believe that they are buying a genuine product with specific qualities and characteristics, when it really is an imitation. They also constitute an act against producers, who loose not only legitimate sales and profits and see the reputation of their products threatened.

PGIs have also the advantage of being a way of legal protection that allows guaranteeing to customers and consumers that a product that is described as coming from a specific geographic location meets the processes and the requirements of quality associated with that place or region. Starting, of course, with the fact that they really come from the region of origin where the product is described from. Thus, consumers can trust that what they buy is genuine and producers are fairly compensated for their efforts of producing a product of superior quality that fulfills the respective PGI standards. Any imitation or evocation of the PGI without being authorized or not meeting the legal requirements for its use constitutes an infringement to the legal norms of the country where such PGI is recognized. Non authorized users are not allowed to use the PGI even if their product comes from such geographic place, as consumers expect to see in the product both the guarantee of the origin and the quality standards implied by the PGI. The penalties that can be applied to those that infringe PGI rights vary and may include cases such as imprisonment, the payment for damages and detriment and fines.

In the case of the Denomination of Origin Colombian Coffee, it has been shown before the European Commission and other country's authorities where Colombian Coffee is in the process to or has been recognized with this distinction, that the quality of the product corresponds not only to the specific conditions of climate, localization and environmental characteristics of the land of coffee, but to the support and quality controls in each of the production processes associated with the production of Colombian Coffee. The Colombian Coffee PGI deals with natural and human factors essentially affecting the quality of the product and the authorities of different countries have evaluated and recognized them before granting a special protection to this coffee.

In October 2007, the European Commission granted the first PGI to Colombian Coffee as a distinction and recognition to its quality and reputation. This recognition came after more than two years of evaluation and was the first such recognition granted to a product of non European origin. Under this legal framework the authorizations to use the PGI Colombian Coffee are issued to authorized PGI brands and authorized PGI users.

If you wish to accede to more information on those instruments, please consult our section Geographic Indications / Denomination of Origin

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