The Lisbon Agreement for the Protection of Appellations of Origin and their International Registration regulates the international registration of appellations of origin only.
The Lisbon Agreement gives the following definition of the term "appellation of origin": the geographical denomination of a country, region, or locality, which serves to designate a product originating therein, the quality or characteristics of which are due exclusively or essentially to the geographical environment, including natural and human factors.
Under the Lisbon Agreement the protection of appellations of origin can be ensured through their international registration.
The system for the international registration of appellations of origin is administered by the International Bureau of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), located in Geneva, Switzerland. It maintains an international register and publishes registration data in a special Bulletin of International Appellations of Origin.
The Lisbon Agreement provides protection against any usurpation or imitation of the appellation of origin, even if the true origin of the product is stated or if the appellation is used in translated form or accompanied by terms such as “kind,” “type,” “make,” “imitation” or the like.
The Member States of the Lisbon Agreement form a Special Union within the Union for the Protection of Industrial Property. They provide legal protection for the appellations of origin of their applicants in all other countries on the basis of only one application for registration. Bulgaria became a party to the Agreement on August 12, 1975.
Any interested natural or legal person, having registered the relevant designation of origin in the country of origin, may, through the Office of that country, apply to the International Bureau of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) for the international registration of the same designation of origin.
Content of the application:
1. the country of origin;
2. the national department;
3. the appellation of origin and transliteration;
4. the user / users of the appellation of origin and address;
5. the goods to which the appellation of origin refers;
6. the field of production of the goods;
7. the legal provision or judgment or national registration recognizing the protection of the appellation of origin in the country of origin;
8. date and signature of the competent authority;
9. registration fee - 1,000 CHF.
Through the international application and its registration, the designation of origin receives the same amount of legal protection that would be obtained through applications filed separately in each country. The only condition for undertaking an international registration is that the appellation of origin is registered in the country of origin. Without such registration, the applicant cannot submit an application to the WIPO International Bureau.
The International Bureau shall initiate the application for international registration and enter it in the International Register of Designations of Origin.
The International Bureau then announced the registration of the Offices of the Member States of the Lisbon Agreement.
Within one year of receipt of the notification of registration, protection may be refused in the territory of any individual country if the Office of that country finds an impediment to granting protection under its national law. Therefore, until the expiry of the one-year objection period, the international application has the status of a national application.
The International Bureau shall immediately notify the Office of the country of origin of any notification of refusal of registration made by the Office of another country. The person concerned will be able to resort in that other country to all judicial and administrative interventions available to the nationals of that country.
International registration is maintained as long as the appellation of origin is protected in the country of origin.
A diplomatic conference was held in Geneva from 11 to 21 May 2015 for the adoption of the Geneva Act to the Lisbon Treaty for the protection of designations of origin and their international registration. This Act establishes an international system for the registration and protection of both designations of origin and geographical indications.
The Geneva Act of the Lisbon Agreement on designations of origin and geographical indications entered into force on 26 February 2020.