Research Handbooks in Intellectual Property series
Edited by Dev S. Gangjee
Chapter 12: Geographical Indication protection in China
As one of the ancient civilizations, China has gained a reputation for its china, silk, herbal medicine and many other products. These globally well-known products are closely linked to specific climatic and geological conditions, as well as unique methods of production. However, compared to its long history and rich resources in GI products, China’s Geographical Indication (GI) protection has a rather short history. It was not until the mid-1980s that China started its protection for GIs. The accession to international treaties prompted China to passively offer GI protection. The beginning of Geographical Indication protection can be traced back to 1985 when China joined the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property. Under the convention obligations, China started to protect indications of source and appellations of origin by way of administrative decrees. In 1987 the State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC) issued an administrative decree to stop a Beijing-based food company from using Danish Butter Cookies on its products. In 1989 SAIC issued another administrative decree to protect Champagne from being misused as a generic term for a type of sparkling wine on Chinese markets, preserving it as an appellation of origin. These probably are the first important events in China regarding GI-related administrative protection. After that, several legislative efforts were made and different government agencies have been involved in the realm of GI protection.