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Island’s record in registering patents ‘dismal’

22 January 2019 Latest News

Island’s record in registering patents ‘dismal’

The island’s record in patenting traditional Cypriot products has been a dismal one, while authorities here have yet to settle on a standardised definition of what constitutes a traditional product, MPs said on Tuesday.

Legislators heard that since 2004, when Cyprus joined the European Union, only five Cypriot products have been patented on an EU level, while patents on three other products (other than halloumi cheese) are pending the European Commission’s decision.

The file to certify three cold meat products from Pitsilia – sausage, ham and smoked pork – was filed to the European Commission one-and-a-half years ago.

Some 15 years after acceding to the EU, only five local products – sweets, cold cuts – have received either an EU protected designation of origin (PDO) or protected geographical indication (PGI).

MPs were discussing the overall situation following the recent debacle where Cyprus lost its trademark on halloumi in the UK to a private company there.

A British court ruling dated November 28 revealed the case was lost due to the inaction of the relevant department in Cyprus, which failed to send the necessary documents to the UK in time for them to be examined by the court.

Several officials were summoned to the House commerce committee to explain the state of play, with MPs later lamenting that the foot-dragging in patenting local products is costing the island millions in potential exports.

Disy MP Andreas Kyprianou said the sluggishness observed went far beyond the case of halloumi.

Of the 28 products which the agriculture ministry has earmarked as being potentially designated as traditional goods, files for only five of these have been prepared because the producers did not bother to put together files for the rest.

“This is unacceptable,” Kyprianou said.

Another problem was the fragmentation of powers among the various departments at the ministries of commerce and agriculture.

The Disy MP urged the state to assist producers in setting up cottage industries in the countryside. The government in collaboration with local communities should organise seminars informing producers of opportunities from local and EU subsidies.

Akel’s Costa Costa observed that, to date, there is no standard definition as to what constitutes a traditional product.

“After the incredible fiasco and Cyprus’ embarrassment overseas with the loss of halloumi in Great Britain, we hope the government has learned its lesson,” he noted.

For his part, Diko MP Angelos Votsis said that from the committee briefing he did not get the sense that the government is taking the matter seriously enough.

The post Island’s record in registering patents ‘dismal’ appeared first on Cyprus Mail.

Source: Cyprus Mail Latest News