Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Peruvian Pisco or Chilean Pisco: a world competition

This is some news that we got in here today: the Peruvian National Institute for the Defence of Competition and Protection of Intellectual Property (INDECOPI) has announced that it is considering cancelling authorizations for the use of ‘Pisco’ Denomination of Origin (DO) and even initiating infringement procedures against ‘certified’ producers who participate in the contest "Spirits Selection by Concours Mondial de Bruxelles" (Brussels Competition), taken place La Serena, Chile from 22 to 24 August 2017.

What is this about? The Peruvian ‘pisco’ will not be able to participate in this prestigious competence which rewards the best spirits in the world, unless their name is changed to ‘Peruvian Grape distillate’. INDECOPI rhetorically noted that not calling ‘pisco’ for its DO will denigrate the prestige and commercial value of the product.
Brussels competition changes annually, and this year taken effect in Chile, the authorities requested to change the rules so that the Peruvian producers of ‘pisco’ cannot participate in the category of pisco but can participate in the category of ‘Peruvian grape distillate’. This decision denies the possibility of  Peruvain ‘pisco’ participating in the category that corresponds to it and so, denying the use of its DO.

INDECOPI’s measure: it noted that by the Peruvian producers of pisco that by not been able to use theirs DO it will “weaken the defence of exclusivity over [their] denomination of origin and all the efforts that are channeled for the protection and promotion at the international level” therefore it considers that the most reasonable measure will be not to participate in this contest.
While the measure appears to be well intended and advisory, it also warned that if pisco producers participate in the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles, INDECOPI may cancel the authorizations of use of DO to such producers. The measure comes after INDECOPI noticed that if they do so, it will “affect the prestige and commercial value” of Peruvian Pisco. This is so because it will “cause uncertainty regarding the quality of the product” since it will not need to have gone through the controls required for ‘pisco’ DO and all the restrictions of its regulation.

Finally it remarked that if Peruvian products were to obtain medals in the competition they could not display it in the Peruvian market, since these would not have been won in the 'pisco' category. If they do so, it would deceive consumers.

Why the change of rules in the competition? The battle over this term is not something new. Chilean Pisco vs Peruvian Pisco. As the competition is taking place in Chile one can guess that under the ‘pisco’ category only those product produced in accordance with the Chilean regulation will be considered.This has been ratified by the organizers explaining that "Chilean and Peruvian legislation does not recognize the “Pisco” denomination in the other country." Therefore Peruvian pisco to go through customs, it must be labelled as “grape spirit”.

Internationally for instance the EU recognizes Chilean Pisco and Peruvian Pisco as DOs. Yet, when the EU registered Peruvian pisco as a DO it acknowledged a previous trade agreement between Chile and the EU in which Pisco was recognized as a DO from Chile. The note clarifies that the protection granted to "Pisco" as a DO to Peru does not hinder the use of that name for products originating in Chile. Malasia recognizes Pisco as a DO from Peru as well as Costa Rica; Chile and Nicaragua recognizes Pisco as a DO from Chile.

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