This article discusses the transformation of a distinctive trade sign into a generic term. Any distinctive trade sign carries this risk, primarily if it benefits from a high level of reputation or prestige, and the product identified is unique in the market. This is probably the most critical danger for such signs, especially if they are industrial property rights. Several criteria have been developed to determine if a sign has been transformed into a generic term. These criteria have economic and political relevance, as genericness is not a trivial issue. The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has taken a position in this matter, as have the European Union Regulations on trademarks and geographical indications. However, the bilateral and multilateral agreements are the critical arena for conflicts concerning geographical terms’ qualification as common terms. The European Union (EU) and the United States (US) have been in the spotlight for a long time, while China is also reaching a prominent place in this dispute. The most recent bilateral agreements have been twisting the criteria applied when assessing a geographical term’s genericness.
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