20th May 2011, www.lankabusinessonline.com
Sri Lanka's Tea Board aims to hire an international agency for global surveillance of the island's Ceylon tea brand under the 'Lion' logo to prevent its misuse and sale of counterfeits, an official said.
The planned action comes in the wake of the island launching new logos for Ceylon tea to protect the island's best known brand under the Geographical Indicators (GI) international trade regime and promote it as ozone friendly.
"In the past, the Sri Lanka Tea Board has played a defensive role and had been reacting to abuses (of the brand)," said Hasitha De Alwis, the Tea Board's director of promotion.
"The new tea promotional and marketing committee had decided to be proactive to (protect Ceylon tea's brand and GI recognition)," he said.
"We intend to assign an international agency to do global surveillance of the 'Lion' logo violations and origin counterfeiting."
The Tea Board and Sri Lankan exporters have long complained about the misuse of the Ceylon tea name and sale of teas from other origins in the guise of pure Ceylon tea.
De Alwis said local registration of the new Ceylon tea GI logos and its planned international registration will increase its protection and discourage misuse of the brand by use of other origin teas in packaging.
The new GI logos denote seven specific agro-climatic regions where tea is grown; Nuwara Eliya, Dimbula, Uva, Udapussella, Kandy, Ruhuna and Sabaragamuwa in the central hills and southern region.
"The registration of agro-climatic regional names and logos in world markets while giving Ceylon tea and growing regions a high level of protection will add value and help earn a premium price," De Alwis said.
Sri Lanka aims to use the new logos to market Ceylon tea as a premium product just like French champagne, Scotch whisky and Basmathi rice.
It decided to protect the Ceylon tea name and seven major regional tea growing area names as certification marks under the GI of the Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) within the World Trade Organisation regime.
De Alwis also said Sri Lanka is the only country qualified to use the 'ozone friendly' logo for tea after it gave up using Methyl Bromide, an ozone depleting substance in tea production.
Related Info :
• Intellectual Property Protection for Ceylon Tea under Global Geographical Indicators Rules
• Sri Lanka Registers Ozone Friendly Ceylon Tea Logo being the First Country in the World to Produce Ozone Friendly Tea
• Sri Lanka Tea Council Chairman Merrill J Fernando Proposes a 10 Year Plan to Take Ceylon Tea to Its Pristine Glory