Author: Olivier MANDEL, French Attorney at Law (Law firm MANDEL-ASSOCIES)
1. On February 17, 2011, the majority of the European Parliament (465 Members of European Parliament in favor) voted in favor of the EU – South Korea Free Trade Agreement (hereafter the FTA).
The FTA, signed on October 6, 2010, has already been named the “EU’s most ambitious trade agreement to date and the first with an Asian country” by EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht.
The vote of the European Parliament paves the way for the provisional application of the FTA as of July 1, 2011 even thought the EU Member States will have to ratify the FTA according to their own laws and procedures. A vote of the Korean Parliament is also expected in the next months and in all cases before July 1, 2011, date of entry into force of the FTA.
2. According to the European Commission Directorate General for Trade, thanks to the FTA and as tariffs are concerned, “South Korea and the EU will eliminate 98.7% of duties in trade value for both industrial and agricultural products within 5 years from the entry into force of the FTA”.
The European Commission Directorate General for Trade explained also that “one study estimates that the deal will create new trade in goods and services worth Euro 19.1 billion for the EU; another study calculates that it will more than double the bilateral EU-South Korea trade in the next 20 years compared to a scenario without the FTA. The FTA will remove virtually all import duties between the two economies as well as many non-tariff barriers. It will relieve EU exporters of industrial and agricultural goods to South Korea from paying tariffs. Once the transitional period for full implementation is complete, exporters will save Euro 1.6 billion annually from not paying import duties”.
3. It is important to note that, in 2010, the European Union was already the fourth supplier of South Korea with 9% of market share, behind China (17%), Japan (15%) and the United States (9,6%).
The European Union was, in 2010, the second market for the Korean exports (11.3%), far behind China (25%) but ahead of the United States (10.7%), Japan (6%) and Hong Kong (5.5%).
However this ranking should change in the next years to the mutual benefit of UE and South Korea thanks to the FTA.
4. One of the many positive achievements of the FTA is a separate Chapter 10 on Intellectual Property rights which shall complement and specify the rights and obligations between the Parties under the TRIPS Agreement.
This comprehensive chapter covers provisions on copyright and related rights, trademarks, geographical indications, designs, patents and plant varieties.
A full section of the Chapter 10 of the FTA is devoted to the mutual recognition and protection of the Geographical Indications (hereafter GIs) of both Parties.
Indeed, it is important to note that EU has been pushing for an enhanced protection of European GIs during the negotiations of the last bilateral trade agreements signed between EU and third countries.
In this connection, the FTA signed with South Korea is a real success for EU GIs producers since the protection given to EU GIs cover not only wines and spirits but also agricultural products and foodstuffs.
5. Moreover regarding the specific relationship between EU and South Korea, it is widely admitted that Korean people start to discover and to appreciate famous European GIs, like “Champagne” or “Scotch Whisky”.
South Korea being a country widely opened to the external influences, this attraction for European wines, spirits and agricultural products should increase in the next years.
In this connection, we can note also that South Korea is a relatively rich Asian country since the GDP per capita was US $ 20,165 in 2010 (to have a comparison, the GDP per capita in Taiwan was US $ 18,304 in 2010 and US $ 31,799 in Singapore): a majority of European wines, spirits and agricultural products are therefore affordable for the Korean consumers.
Additional figures can easily demonstrate this attraction for European products and the expected benefits from the signature of the FTA:
Indeed in the wine sector, Mr. Patrice Lancien, Business Manager of the French company “Groupe Taillan” for the South East Asia Zone, explained that the South Korean wine market has experienced a tremendous growth this decade with an average of 30 to 40% between 2001 and 2008. 2007 was exceptional with a growth of almost 100%.
In this context even though the market share of the French wines decreased from 41 % in volume (47 % in value) in the year 2001 to 14 % in the year 2009 (31 % in value), it is more than likely that this market share will increase again in the next years thanks to the signature of the FTA.
Indeed one of the current highest Korean base rates apply to EU imports of wine (15 %). However for this product, the complete tariff liberalization will occur immediately when the FTA will enter into force.
More generally according to a economical report for the European Commission, the signature of the FTA will have a positive effect on the EU bilateral trade balance regarding agriculture and food products (meat, dairy and other food products) since an improvement of about 5 billion Euros is expected.
6. In the present Article, we would like to take a closer look at the provisions of the FTA relating to GIs.
First, we will explain the mechanism of the mutual recognition of the GIs introduced by the FTA (I), and second we will detail the scope of protection given to the GIs (II).
I. A mutual recognition of Geographical Indications organized by the FTA
7. According to the FTA (Chapter 10, Sub-Section C), Geographical indications refers to:
- for the European Union, geographical indications, designations of origin, quality wines produced in a specified region and table wines with geographical indication as referred to in Council Regulation (EC) No 510/2006 of March 20, 2006, Regulation (EC) No 110/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of January 15, 2008, Council Regulation (EEC) No 1601/1991 of June 10, 1991, Council Regulation (EC) No 1493/1999 of May 17, 1999 and Council Regulation (EC) No 1234/2007 of October 22, 2007, or provisions replacing these regulations;
- and for South Korea, geographical indications as covered by the Agricultural Products Quality Control Act (Act No. 9759, June 9, 2009) and the Liquor Tax Act (Act No. 8852, February 29, 2008).
We will not detail the content of these different Regulations in the present Article.
Rather, we will remind that the GI which is a type of intellectual property right, is used to identify a good as originating in the territory of a particular country, or region or locality in that country, where a given quality, reputation or other characteristic of the good is essentially attributable to its geographical origin.
Except for the spirits sector which is regulated by a single and unique category of “Geographical Indication”, the EU system regulates two types of Geographical indications: the protected designation of origin (PDO) and the protected geographical indication (PGI).
A name of an agricultural product or foodstuff registered as a PDO shows that the product’s qualities or characteristics are essentially or exclusively due to the geographical environment with its inherent natural and human factors. Moreover, the product and its raw materials must have been farmed and produced entirely within the geographical area.
For a name registered as a PGI, the product possesses a specific quality, reputation or other characteristic attributable to that geographical origin. In addition, at least one stage of the production, processing or preparation must take place within the geographical area.
The difference between PDO and PGI is thus one of the closeness of the link between the product and the geographical zone.
9. To get back to the FTA, the following need to be underlined:
While the producer of an European GI must normally register its GI before the relevant national authorities to obtain a protection in the third countries (if we assume that these third countries have a sui generis system for GIs which is not always the case), the main advantage of the FTA signed between the EU and South Korea relies on the mutual recognition of hundreds of GIs between the European Union and South Korea (Articles 10.18 and 10.19).
The European producers of the European GIs (listed in the Annexes) will no longer need to appoint a Korean Agent and to submit all required documents translated in Korean language before the relevant Korean authorities to obtain a sui generis protection of their GIs in South Korea.
These EU producers should therefore save significant savings and time.
Moreover as of the date of enforcement of the FTA, an European producer of a European GI (listed in the Annexes enclosed to the FTA) shall be allowed to rely on his listed GI to claim protection in South Korea and to introduce a judicial action in this country on the basis of this listed GI in case of infringement, without the need to register first and foremost the European GI before the relevant South Korean authorities.
Conversely as of the date of enforcement of the FTA, an South Korean producer of a South Korean GI (listed in the Annexes enclosed to the FTA) shall be allowed to rely on his listed GI to claim protection in the European Union and to introduce a judicial action in one or more EU Member States on the basis of this listed GI in case of infringement, without the need to register first and foremost the South Korean GI before the European authorities.
In this respect, at the international level, it is important to note that the current negotiations on the establishment of a multilateral registration system for GIs, and especially the EC proposal (which would favor the holders of GIs) have made so far little progress in the World Trade Organization.
Therefore, both the EU and South Korean producers can realize their respective interests and achieve a “win-win” situation thanks to the signature of the FTA since this instrument organizes a mutual recognition and protection of GIs.
10. Moreover at the international level, while GIs for all products are covered by Article 22 of the TRIPS Agreement, an international current and “hot” issue is whether to expand the higher level of protection (Article 23) – currently given to wines and spirits – to other products. A number of countries, and especially the EU, want to negotiate extending this higher level of protection to other products while some other countries oppose the move.
The signature of the FTA “gives reason” to the EU on this issue since the mutual recognition and protection of GIs covers not only wines, aromatized wines and spirits but also agricultural products and foodstuffs.
In this context, it is important to note that, to the best of our knowledge, the FTA is the first trade agreement signed with a third country (or at least with an Asian country) that grants a mutual protection not only for wines and spirits but also for agricultural products and foodstuffs.
11. Indeed, the FTA includes an Annex 10-A which lists all the agricultural products and foodstuffs originating in the European Community (Part A) and in South Korea (Part B) that were the object of a mutual recognition by the Parties.
60 European products and 63 Korean products are currently listed. The majority of the European products are cheese (“Comté”, “Reblochon”, “Roquefort”, “Camembert de Normandie”, “Feta”, etc.), ham (“Jambon de Bayonne”, “Prosciutto di Parma”, “Jamon de Huelva”, etc.) and olive oil (“Baena”, “Aceite del Bajo Aragon”, “Sierra de Cadiz”, etc.).
The FTA includes also an Annex 10-B which lists all the wines, aromatized wines and spirits originating in the European Community (Part A) and in South Korea (Part B) that were the object of a mutual recognition by the Parties.
105 European products and 1 Korean product are currently listed. The European list includes, among others, the most famous French, Italian and Spanish GIs for wines like “Bourgone”, “Champagne”, “Bordeaux”, “Beaujolais”, “Saint-Emilion”, “Chianti”, “Barolo”, “Montepulciano d’Abruzzo”, “Jerez”, “Penedes”, “Rioja” and among others, the most famous French, Polish, Irish and Scotch spirits like “Cognac”, “Armagnac”, “Calvados”, “Irish whisky”, “Polish vodka”, “Scotch whisky”, etc.
The only Korean spirit listed is called “Jindo Hongju” which is a liqueur made with a Korean plant called “Jicho”.
12. It is more than certain that this mutual recognition of GIs, in addition to the progressive elimination of customs tariffs, should be a timely boost to exports in South Korea for the benefit of European producers of luxury products such as “Champagne”, “Cognac”, “Scotch whisky” or “Irish whisky” which are very appreciated by the Koreans and already sold in important qualities in this country.
Conversely, Korean products are not really known right now by the European consumers. Moreover, it is difficult for an average European consumer, even the aficionados of Asian cuisine, to distinguish a Korean food product from a Japanese or a Chinese one.
However, we can expect that the producers of the 64 Korean products that were recognized as protected GIs shall be able to rely on the quality and reputation of those products to render them more recognizable and to increase their exports to the European Union in the next years, especially the producers of green tea and rice, it being said that these “Asian” products are generally appreciated by the European consumers.
Because the GIs in the EU cover wines and spirits – while South Korea is not a wine country producer – and agricultural products and foodstuffs different from those produced in South Korea – where there are a number of local specialties, such as green tea, rice or ginseng, which are not among the EU protected GIs – the GIs benefiting from the FTA complement each other perfectly and have limited chance of competing on the same markets.
This is of particular importance to consumers who should expected to enjoy the variety and differentiation of products in the respective EU and Korean markets.
13. It is also important to note that new GIs may be added to the current Annexes 10-A and 10-B after the date of enforcement of the FTA.
Indeed, Article 10.25 and 15.3.1. of the FTA established a Working Group on Geographical Indications which may, decide, among others, “to modify Annexes 10-A and 10-B to add individual geographical indications of the European Union or Korea”.
Article 10.24 of the FTA states that “the European Union and Korea agree to process, without undue delay, the other’s request for adding geographical indications to be protected to the Annexes”.
In this context, Article 10.25 of the FTA states that the Working Group on Geographical Indications shall meet at a time and a place mutually determined by the Parties, “but no later than 90 days after the request”.
14. However, it is important to note that the addition of news GIs is subject to two types of limitations.
First of all, a “new” European GI must be recognized and registered at Community level before its potential entry into the Annex 10-A or 10-B. In the same manner, a “new” Korean GI must be recognized and registered at Korean level before its potential entry into the Annex 10-A or 10-B.
Secondly, a name may not be registered as a new GI where it conflicts with the name of a plant variety, including a grape variety, or an animal breed and as a result is likely to mislead the consumer as to the true origin of the product (Article 10.24.3 of the FTA).
A provision similar to Article 10.24.3 of the FTA already exists at Community level for GIs for agricultural products and foodstuffs (Article 3 & 2 of Council Regulation (EC) No 510 / 2006).
However regarding the wine sector, there is no provision similar to Article 10.24.3 of the FTA. This means that at Community level, a name may be registered as a GI for wine even though this name conflicts with the name of a grape variety. A good example is “Chablis” or “Riesling” which are both Community registered PDOs and two distinct types of grape variety.
Therefore, we cannot exclude that the Working Group on Geographical Indications, which is composed of European and Korean representatives, might refuse on the basis of Article 10.24 to add the names “Chablis” and “Riesling” to the list of the GIs already protected, which would deprive the producers and exporters of “Chablis” and “Riesling” of the protection given by the FTA and would weaken their situation in case of acts of infringement committed in South Korea.
II. The scope of protection given to the GIs thanks to the FTA
15. The protection afforded to GIs under the FTA is broader that the basic protection afforded to GIs by the TRIPS Agreement.
Indeed according to the TRIPS Agreement, there is a standard level of protection for all GIs: GIs have to be protected in order to avoid misleading the public and to prevent unfair competition (Article 22).
Article 23 of the TRIPS Agreement provides a higher or enhanced level of protection for GIs for wines and spirits: subject to a number of exceptions, they have to be protected even if misuse would not cause the public to be misled.
According to Article 10.21 of the FTA, this enhanced level of protection is given to all GIs, i.e. GIs for wines and spirits but also GIs for agricultural products and foodstuffs.
More precisely, Article 10.21 of the FTA states that “geographical indications referred to in Articles 10.18 and 10.19 shall be protected against:
- The use of any means in the designation or presentation of a good that indicates or suggests that the good in question originates in a geographical area other than the true place of origin in a manner which misleads the public as to the geographical origin of the good;
- The use of a geographical indication identifying a good for a like good not originating in the place indicated by the geographical indication in question, even where the true origin of the good is indicated or the geographical indication is used in translation or transcription or accompanied by expressions such as “kind”, “type”, “style”, “imitation” or the like; and
- Any other use which constitutes an act of unfair competition within the meaning of Article 10 bis of the Paris Convention”.
16. Thanks to this Article, the European producers of the GIs (listed in the Annexes 10-A and 10-B) will be protected against an act of use of the GI committed in South Korea even though there won’t be any likelihood of confusion between the GI and the infringing sign relating to the true origin of the good.
For instance, a French producer authorized to use the GI “Champagne” (which is one of the GIs listed in Annex 10-B) will be able to introduce an infringement action before the Korean courts against a third Korean party who would register a Korean trademark such as “Korean Champagne” or “Champagne produced in Korea”, following the date when the FTA enters into force.
This protection of the European GIs (listed in the Annexes 10-A and 10-B) shall also extend to their Korean translations and/or transcriptions.
Therefore if a party, after the date when the FTA enters into force, files a trademark application on the Korean translation or transcription of the name “Champagne” before the Korean Trademark Office, this trademark application should normally be refused even though there is no risk of confusion, from the point of view of the relevant public – which would probably be the Korean consumer in the present case – between the French name “Champagne” and its Korean translation or transcription.
In this context, it is important to note that the Annexes 10-A and 10-B of the FTA provide an official “transcription into Korean alphabet” for each European listed GI and an official “transcription into Latin alphabet” for each Korean listed GI.
17. However, this “objective” protection (for which it is not necessary to demonstrate a risk of confusion) seems to be limited to goods having an identical nature (see footnote 7 under Article 10.21 b) of the FTA).
Therefore in our opinion, the provisions of the FTA won’t be of any help for a French producer authorized to use the GI “Roquefort”, for instance, who would wish to invalidate, before the relevant Korean courts or administrations, a Korean trademark “Roquefort” which designates “pastas” (and not cheese).
Moreover because Article 10.21 b) of the FTA speaks of “goods” and not of “services”, it seems that a French producer authorized to use the GI “Champagne” won’t be able to rely of the FTA to prevent the registration of a Korean trademark “Champagne” designating, for instance, “services for advice in wines”.
The claims of this French producer should be based on other legal grounds that shall be determined with a Korean specialized lawyer.
18. In all cases, the protection given by the FTA appears to be more comprehensive than the protection given by a trademark registration. Indeed in general, trademark registration does not cover translation nor does it prevent the use of the trademark with “de-localisers” (“Korean Champagne”).
This does not mean that trademark protection is not necessary. Indeed, because only a name (and especially a geographical name) can be registered in the Community Register of protected designations of origin and protected geographical indications, it is highly recommended for the producers of EU GIs to file several trademark applications (single or collective trademark applications depending on the case) to protect the name(s) under which the GI is or will be commercialized but also the logos, the packaging of the product and even the shape of the bottle (for wines and spirits).
19. The FTA contains also important provisions relating to the conflict between GIs and trademarks.
Two types of conflicts may exist: a conflict between a trademark and a prior registered GI and a conflict between a prior registered trademark and a GI.
Regarding the first type of conflict, Article 10.23 of the FTA states that “the registration of a trademark that corresponds to any of the situations referred to in Article 10.21.1 in relation to a protected geographical indication for like goods, shall be refused or invalidated by the Parties, provided an application for registration of the trademark is submitted after the date of application for protection or recognition of the geographical indication in the territory concerned”.
Two different types of dates must be considered.
For the registered GIs which are already listed in the Annexes 10-A or 10-B, the “date of application for protection or recognition” shall be July 1, 2011, i.e. the date of entry into force of the FTA.
The GI “Champagne” is one the GIs already listed in the Annex 10-B.
If a party files a trademark application on the name “Champagne” (to designate wines) before the Korean Trademark Office after July 1, 2011, a French producer of “Champagne” shall therefore be able to rely on Article 10.23 of the FTA to claim rejection or invalidation of this trademark application.
For the registered GIs which are not currently listed either in the Annexes 10-A or 10-B but could be added to one of these Annexes in the future, on the basis of Article 10.24 of the FTA, the “date of application for protection or recognition shall be “the date of a Party’s receipt of a request by the other Party to protect or recognize a geographical indication” (Article 10.23 b)).
The cheese “Gouda Holland”, which was registered as an European GI on December 3, 2010, is not currently listed in the Annex 10-A (http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/quality/door/list.html;jsessionid=pL0hLqqLXhNmFQyFl1b24mY3t9dJQPflg3xbL2YphGT4k6zdWn34!-370879141?&recordStart=64).
If, after a request from the Dutch authorities, the European Union transmits a request to protect the GI “Gouda Holland” to the Korean authorities on January 1, 2012, for instance, and if this request is received on January 3, 2012, this later date shall serve to judge the potential conflict between the GI “Gouda Holland” and a conflicting Korean trademark.
If a party files a trademark application on the name “Gouda” (to designate cheeses) before the Korean Trademark Office after January 3, 2012, a Dutch producer of “Gouda Holland” shall therefore be able to rely on Article 10.23 of the FTA to claim for rejection or invalidation of this trademark application.
20. Regarding the second type of conflict between a prior registered trademark and a GI, Article 10.21.5. of the FTA states that “the protection of a geographical indication under this Article is without prejudice to the continued use of a trademark which has been applied for, registered or established by use, if that possibility is provided for by the legislation concerned, in the territory of a Party before the date of the application for protection or recognition of the geographical indication, provided that no grounds for the trademark’s invalidity or revocation exist in the legislation of the Part concerned. The date of application for protection or recognition of the geographical indication is determined in accordance with Article 10.23.2”.
Article 10.21.5 of the FTA appears to be directly “inspired” by Article 14.2 of Council Regulation (EC) No 510/2006 and Article 118 l) of Council Regulation (EC) No 491/2009 since the writing of these three articles are very close.
In our opinion, this Article is an exception to Article 10.21.1, as it provides for the continued use of a prior trademark even though use of that trademark would conflict with the rights conferred by registration of a GI under the FTA.
It prevents the exercise of rights conferred by registration of a GI against the continued use of that particular prior trademark and is an express recognition that, in principle, a GI and a trademark can coexist under the FTA.
In that sense, Article 10.21.5 of the FTA is probably intended to implement Article 24.5 of the TRIPS Agreement.
Article 10.21.5. only applies:
- with respect to the GI, where a particular indication satisfies the conditions for protection, including the definitions of a « designation of origin » or a « geographical indication », and is not subject to refusal on any grounds;
- with respect to the trademark, where a particular sign has already been applied for, registered or established by use and there are no grounds for its invalidity or revocation; and
- where use of that trademark would infringe the GI registration.
The scope of Article 10.21.5. is confined temporally to those trademarks applied for, registered or established by use either before the date of entry into force of the FTA, i.e. July 1, 2011 or before the date of a Party’s receipt of a request by the other Party to protect or recognize a geographical indication.
21. Finally, it is very important to note that several and efficient measures and remedies shall be available to the producers of EU GIs in case they need to introduce an infringement action before the Korean courts to defend their rights.
These measures, procedures and remedies mainly include provisional measures for preserving evidence, right of information, provisional and precautionary measures, corrective measures, injunctions and damages (Sub-Section A of the Section C of the Chapter 10 of the FTA).
Indeed even before the commencement of proceedings on the merits of the case, the Korean competent judicial authorities may, on application by a party who has presented reasonably available evidence to support its claims that its GI has been infringed or is about to be infringed, order prompt and effective provisional measures to preserve relevant evidence in respect of the alleged infringement, subject to the protection of confidential information.
Such measures include the detailed description, with or without the taking of samples, or the physical seizure of the infringing goods, and in appropriate cases, the materials and implements used in the production or distribution of these goods and the documents relating thereto. Those measures shall be taken, if necessary without the other party being heard, in particular where any delay is likely to cause irreparable harm to the right holder or where there is a demonstrable risk of evidence being destroyed.
The Korean judicial authorities should also order, at the request of the applicant and without prejudice to any damages to the right holder by reason of the infringement, and without compensation of any sort, destruction of goods that they have found to be infringing a GI or any other measures to definitively remove those goods from the channels of commerce. If appropriate, the Korean judicial authorities may also order destruction of materials and implements principally used in the creation or manufacture of those goods.
Finally regarding damages, the Korean judicial authorities shall ensure that when they set damages, they shall take into account all appropriate aspects, such as the negative economic consequences, including lost profits, which the injured party has suffered, any unfair profits made by the infringer and, in appropriate cases, elements other than economic factors, such as the moral prejudice caused to the right holder by the infringement.
These different aspects are of particular importance for the European producers of global well-known GIs such as “Champagne” or “Cognac”.
22. Thanks to the signature of the FTA, the producers of European GIs will benefit from a better protection in South Korea and may expect an increase of their sales in the next years.
From a marketing point of view, these producers will also have the possibility to use South Korea as a “platform” for all the Asian countries where they export their products.
However, these producers can still face some difficulties when exporting their products.
It is therefore important to get legal advice from experts in GI and trademark law. In this context, experience demonstrates that it is better to identify and work with a Law Firm from the same country as the producer that will manage all the needed contacts and take the required legal steps on behalf of the producer with the help of a local correspondent.
The author of the Article thanks Mrs. Antonina Morozova, who worked as a trainee at the law firm Mandel-Associes, for her contribution.
 Source: International Monetary Fund: http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/weo/2010/02/weodata/weorept.aspx?sy=2008&ey=2015&scsm=1&ssd=1&sort=country&ds=.&br=1&pr1.x=72&pr1.y=12&c=532%2C576%2C542%2C528&s=NGDPDPC&grp=0&a=
 Interview of Mr. Patrice Lancien published in the magazine “France Japon Eco” (French Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Japan, No 125, winter 2010). The interview was in French.
 See footnote 7.
 http://trade.ec.europa.eu/doclib/docs/2010/october/tradoc_146765.pdf. The current Korean base rate which applies to European whisky is 20 %. For this product, the complete tariff liberalization is expected in a delay of 3 years following the entry into force of the FTA (see document above mentioned, page 41/292).
 The Economic Impact of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the European Union and Korea. Report for the European Commission DG Trade (framework contract TRADE/07/A2: Korea II) : http://trade.ec.europa.eu/doclib/docs/2010/may/tradoc_146174.pdf
 Council Regulation (EC) No 510/2006 of March 20, 2006 on the protection of geographical indications and designations of origin for agricultural products and foodstuffs.
 Council Regulation (EC) No 491/2009 of May 25, 2009 establishing a common organization of agricultural markets and on specific provisions for certain agricultural products (Single CMO Regulation).
 Council Regulation No 110/2008 on the definition, description, presentation, labeling and protection of geographical indications on spirit drinks.
 In this connection, it is important to note that both the EU and South Korea are members of the Madrid System for the International registration of trademarks. The Madrid system offers a trademark owner the possibility to have his trademark protected in several countries by simply filing one application directly with his own national or regional trademark office (INPI or OHIM for a French producer of a European GI originating from France). An international mark so registered is equivalent to an application or a registration of the same mark effected directly in each of the countries designated by the applicant. If the trademark office of a designated country (South Korea, for instance) does not refuse protection within a specified period, the protection of the mark is the same as if it had been registered by that Office. The Madrid system also simplifies greatly the subsequent management of the mark, since it is possible to record subsequent changes or to renew the registration through a single procedural step. Further countries may be designated subsequently.