Programs and Events
The Geographical Names Conference: Protecting and Enforcing Geographic Names, GIs, Trademarks and Domain Names


 Thursday, December 10

8:00 am–6:00 pm 
Registration and Information Desk Open
8:00 am–9:00 am 
Networking Breakfast
9:00 am–10:00 am 
Welcome and Introductions

Etienne Sanz de Acedo, International Trademark Association (United States)
Simona Vicari, Under Secretary of State of the Ministry of Economic Development (Italy)
Massimo Vittori, oriGIn (Switzerland)
Enrico Zanoli, President of the Ordine Dei Consulenti (Italy)
10:00 am–10:10 am 
Preliminary Remarks by the Conference Co-Chairs

Keri Johnston, Johnston Law (Canada)
Lorenzo Litta, De Simone & Partners (Italy)
10:15 am–11:15 am
A Survey of the Existing Systems for the Protection of Geographical Indications—Who, What, Where, Why and So What?

Join the debate as two leading academics in the world of geographical indicators take conference registrants through the existing systems worldwide. They will lay the foundation for an informed discussion of the inherent tensions and stated pros and cons of each.  Professor Calboli and Professor Kamperman Sanders will then rejoin the debate in the final session of Day 2 to assist registrants in articulating possible paths forward.

Irene Calboli, Singapore Management University (Singapore) and Texas A&M (United States)
Anselm Kamperman Sanders, Maastricht University (Netherlands)

11:15 am–11:30 am 
Networking Break
11:30 am–1:00 pm

The Policies and Politics of GIs in a Changing World

The geographic indicators landscape has undergone significant changes in 2015. Don’t miss this directed discussion which will cover:

  • The EU Parliament's non-binding resolution calling on the Commission to expand the EU-wide system of geographical protection to non-food products.
  • The Geneva Act of the Lisbon Agreement on appellations of origin and geographical indications as adopted on May 20, 2015.
  • The 2015 Worldwide Symposium on Geographical Indications jointly organized by WIPO and the Hungarian Intellectual Property Office in October 2015.
  • The conclusion of negotiations of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) on October 4, 2015.
  • The 11th Round of the proposed EU/USA Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).
  • Other international plurilateral, bilateral and regional trade discussions which delineate the scope of protection to be afforded geographical indicators.

Keri Johnston, Johnston Law (Canada)

Mercedes Bonet-Gonzalez, European Commission—DG TRADE (Belgium)
Marcus Höpperger, World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) (Switzerland)
Shira Perlmutter, United States Patent and Trademark Office (United States)
Wolf R. Meier-Ewert, World Trade Organization (Switzerland)

1:15 pm–2:30 pm 
Networking Lunch
2:30 pm–3:00 pm 

A Shared Vision

A speed interview with the CEO of INTA and the Managing Director of oriGIn will give attendees greater insight into the policies and viewpoints of their respective organizations, including their policy and positions on geographical indicators and how these may evolve over time. Answers to key interview questions will provide guidance on how INTA and oriGIn approach the debate on current international trade agreements on GIs.
Lorenzo Litta, De Simone & Partners (Italy)

Etienne Sanz de Acedo, International Trademark Association (United States)
Massimo Vittori, oriGIn (Switzerland)

3:00 pm–3:45 pm 

GIs from the Negotiating Table to the Dinner Table

Speakers will share their insight on how operators and consumers approach GIs in the current economic climate. The discussion will also encompass GIs and geo-economics, including protecting operators and consumers through the EU’s trade policies.

Peter McAleese, AKRAN Intellectual Property (Italy)

Paolo de Castro, European Parliament (Belgium)
Lara Sanfrancesco, Unaitalia (Italy)

3:45 pm–4:00 pm
Coffee Break
4:00 pm–5:00 pm 

The Voice of GI Owners

GI owners will give their perspectives during this open discussion on the current EU Regulations and PDO-PGIs requirements, highlighting the most recent European Court of Justice (ECJ) case law and regulations. Speaker will also discuss trends and the legislative solutions for GI protection adopted by different countries including BRICs, as well as, evaluating the validity of a geographical trademarks registered under national trademark law.

Patrick J. Kole, Idaho Potato Commission (United States)

Fatima Amehri, Association Marocaine de l'Indication Géographique de l'Huile d'Argane (AMIGHA) (Morocco)
Federico Desimoni, Consorzio Aceto Balsamicio di Modena (Italy)
Ortrun Günzel, Taylor Wessing (Germany)

5:00 pm–5:45 pm 

How the States of Play Influences Brand Owner Strategies and Possible Benefits Including Cobranding
In-House counsel in the food and beverages industry, Sébastien Vitali, will discuss the challenges that trademark owners face in an increasingly harmonized trademark environment. He will share concrete example of the numerous benefits that can occur when brand owners and GI holders work together.

Sébastien Vitali, Wyeth Nutrition (United States)

6:00 pm–7:30 pm 
Networking Reception
8:30 pm–11:00 pm 
Roman Dinner
When in Rome, eat like the Romans! All registrants are invited to join us for a dinner in the magnificent surroundings of the Costaguti Palace hosted by seven local firms, one for every hill in Rome! Shuttles will pick up from the lobby of the hotel starting at 8:00 pm and will whisk registrants to the Palazzo Costaguti for dinner and networking.  



 Friday, December 11

7:30 am–12:00 pm 
Registration and Information Desk Open
8:00 am–9:00 am 
Networking Breakfast
9:00 am–9:15 am 
Welcome Back by Program Co-Chairs

Keri Johnston, Johnston Law (Canada)
Lorenzo Litta, De Simone & Partners (Italy)
9:15 am–9:45 am

Trademarks, Towns and Territories

Country names serve as valuable filters in the global marketplace to the extent that they identify the source of goods, heighten the distinctiveness of local brands, avert confusion, and thus can effectively influence consumer behavior.

This presentation will highlight the paradigm shift in the significance of geographic names, which has prompted a debate on the need for increased IP protection to embrace place and nation brands as property, rather than mere descriptors of origin or indications of quality.

Two salient issues that arise from this context will be considered: 

  • Who owns country names? Who has locus standi to register them, authorize their use and police their misuse?
  • Should a new IP law approach be adopted to protect the purported increase in the value of marks for goods and services associated with country names? Does “Swiss Made” guarantee quality?

Natalie Corthésy, Queen Mary University in London (United Kingdom)

9:50 am–10:20 am  

Rome Wasn’t Branded in a Day: Branding of Geographic Names and Cities
Eduardo Salierno, who was intricately involved in the branding of the new Rome logo in 2015, will share his insight into the process of branding geographical names and cities.

Eduardo Salierno, Inarea (Italy)

10:20 am–10:50 am 

The National Perspective on GIs: The Mexican Perspective

Miguel Margain from the Mexican Institute of Industrial Property (IMPI) will discuss the national perspective on GIs including Mexico’s participation in the recently concluded Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TTP)  and will also share insight on focus on GIs of a particular interest to the region.

Alfredo Rendon Algara, Mexican Institute of Industrial Property (IMPI) (Mexico)

10:50 am–11:30 am 
Networking Break
11:30 am–12:45 pm  

Geographical Indicators and the Internet

The use of geographic names on the Internet isn’t novel, but the new gTLD space has heightened consideration and concerns for geographical, geopolitical, ethnic, linguistic, cultural and community interests, whose perspectives often do not align with intellectual property owners, and global brands. Don’t miss this moderated discussion on geographic challenges in the naming space as speakers with varying perspective share their expertise and thoughts on the following topics:

  • Current developments on ICANN and geographic names.
  • An update from WIPO.
  • The gap in the current UDRP proceedings.
  • Two-character names and geographic names, second level domains.
  • Registrations of AOs and GIs as internet domains.
  • ICANN and Regulatory policy.
  • Trademark owner participation and Round Two.

Dana Brown Northcott,, Inc. (United States)

Heather Forrest, University of Tasmania (Australia)
Marcus Höpperger, World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) (Switzerland)
David Taylor, Hogan Lovells (Paris) LLP (France)           

12:45 pm–2:00 pm 
Networking Lunch
2:00 pm–3:15 pm
Fighting in the Market: Counterfeiting and Enforcement of Geographical Indicators

Both GIs and trademarks have been subject to misuse by counterfeiters. In this session, speakers will share the challenges they’ve faced contending with counterfeit GIs and ensuring product traceability so that consumers are not misled.

Ortrun Günzel, Taylor Wessing (Germany)

Lionel Lalagüe, Bureau National Interprofessionnel du Cognac (BNIC) (France)
Latha R. Nair, K & S Partners (India)

3:15 pm–4:30 pm 

GIs Outside Borders

In this an “either/or” debate, or have international plurilateral and bilateral treaty negotiations moved the debate beyond these boundaries? Speakers from the conference will give an overview of the common concerns discussed throughout the program, sharing their thoughts on the positive trends of GIs. Speakers will also be available to answer questions from the audience.

Special Speaker:
Simone Calzi, Consorzio del Prosciutto di Parma (Italy)


 CLE and CPD

This conference qualifies for Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credits and Continuing Professional Development (CPD) points. For more information, please email

 Tuition Assistance


Tuition assistance may be available to eligible professionals on the basis of financial hardship. For more information and to apply, please request an application by sending an email to Proper documentation will be required.


 Project Team


INTA would like to thank the Project Team for its excellent work in planning and presenting this conference.


Keri Johnston, Johnston Law (Canada)
Lorenzo Litta, De Simone & Partners (Italy)

Project Team Members
Irene Calboli, Singapore Management University (Singapore) and Texas A&M (United States)
Patrick J. Kole, Idaho Potato Commission (United States)
Latha R. Nair, K & S Partners (India)
Fabrice Mattei, Rouse & Co. International LLP (Thailand)
Jeremy John Phillips, Queen Mary Intellectual Property Research Institute (United Kingdom)
Sebastien Vitali, Wyeth Nutrition (United States)

INTA Staff Liaisons
Dionne Downs, International Trademark Association (United States)
Sarah O’Connell, International Trademark Association (United States)