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Lisbon Agreement's Geneva Act Receives First Geographical Indication: Kampot Pepper from Cambodia

January 18, 2021

Cambodia has recorded Kampot Pepper as the first geographical indication (GI) registered via the Geneva Act of WIPO's Lisbon System, which provides protection for names identifying the geographic origin of products such as coffee, tea, cheese, wine, pottery, and cloth.

The Lisbon System with the new Geneva Act, which took effect in 2020, allows protection for appellations of origin and geographical indications in the 30-plus countries covered by the System pdf through a single registration procedure and one set of fees, facilitating international trade of origin products.

Both appellations of origin and geographical indications identify products with a specific geographical origin and quality linkages. These intellectual property tools help local producers distinguish their products in the marketplace, helping to boost earnings.

After joining as the first contracting party of the Geneva Act, which expanded the Lisbon System to include GIs, Cambodia is now also the first applicant to register a geographical indication under the Geneva Act of the Lisbon Agreement.

"Each geographical indication tells a story of people and their traditions, communicating to the world the wealth of products that local communities have to offer. WIPO's Lisbon System helps spread these products worldwide, improving the livelihoods of producers who benefit from increased earnings as well as the lives of consumers who love these products and their links with farmers and artisans across the globe," said Alexandra Grazioli, Director of the Lisbon Registry.

About Kampot Pepper

A product dating back to the 13th century, Kampot Pepper is produced in the provinces of Kampot and Kep in Cambodia and since 2010 it is registered domestically as a geographical indication.

Following the national registration, the product has seen a steep increase in its export sales, with about 70% of the production addressed to the international market, as well as a three-fold increase in its average purchase price (at farm gate) - rising from an average of 7,5$ pre-registration to 22,7$ ten years after registration. In 2019 the value of Kampot Pepper production amounted to more than USD$1million compared with USD$70’000 of production value in 2009, according to the numbers released by the Department of Intellectual Property of the Ministry of Commerce of Cambodia.

Kampot Pepper’s international registration under the Lisbon System will further contribute to this success internationally.  With the higher market price of Kampot Pepper, the risk of fraud and counterfeit products also rises on local and international markets.  

Through one single registration procedure with the Lisbon System, Kampot Pepper is obtaining protection in all Contracting Parties to the Geneva Act of the Lisbon Agreement and so local producers will have the possibility to enforce their rights in more than 30 countries, including the Member States of the European Union.


Appellations of origin and geographical indications are distinctive product designations which require a qualitative link between the product to which they refer and its place of origin.  Both are useful marketing tools for producers, as they inform consumers about a product’s geographical origin and a quality, characteristic and/or reputation of the product linked to its place of origin. The basic difference between the two terms is that the link with the place of origin is stronger in the case of an appellation of origin.

Like all intellectual property rights, the rights granted by an appellation of origin or a geographical indication fundamentally have a territorial character and only take effect in the country or region in which the distinctive sign is protected.

The Geneva Act, concluded in 2015, and the Lisbon Agreement, concluded in 1958, constitute together the “Lisbon System” for the international registration and protection of appellations of origin and geographical indications. By means of a single registration procedure and a minimum expense, the holder of a national or regional appellation of origin or geographical indication may obtain the protection of the distinctive sign in the other Contracting Parties of the Lisbon System.

Examples of appellations of origin and geographical indications include Comté (France), Herend (Hungary), Isfahan Handmade Carpet (Iran), Grana Padano (Italy), Tequila (Mexico), Porto (Portugal), Chulucanas (Peru) and Huile Téboursouk (Tunisia).