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Ethiopia's Fine Coffee Trademarking Initiative at Millennium Turning Point

Submitted by: Light Years IP

Categories: Socially Responsible Investing, Fair Trade & Supply Chain

Posted: Sep 03, 2007 – 12:42 PM EST


Sep. 03 /CSRwire/ - ADDIS ABABA - September 3, 2007 - The Ethiopian Intellectual Property Office (EIPO), guardian of Ethiopia's valuable fine coffee trademarks held a consultative meeting with more than 100 representatives of the sector today to share progress and outline the rising prospects for the country’s coffee producers at the turn of the new Millennium.

Ethiopia is widely recognized as the birthplace of coffee and producer of some of the rarest and finest coffees. The Trademarking and Licensing Initiative, launched in 2004 is designed to end the disconnect between the farmers who grow and the retailers who promote these extraordinary coffees. Prices paid to farmers are so low, that there is a growing risk of their irrevocable loss to more lucrative, usually, narcotic crops. To tackle this Ethiopia has created a new platform for producers, sellers and buyers to work together to protect, promote and enhance their worldwide recognition and value. The Initiative is at a turning point.

"In the first year of our new Millennium (2008) Ethiopians will see the largest level of investment in the promotion of its heritage and coffee treasures in overseas markets ever," H. E. Yacob Yalla, State Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development announced today. He went on to describe Ethiopia’s acceptance of the offer from the Specialty Coffee Association of America to be the "Portrait Coffee Country" at the next event, scheduled for 2-5 May 2008 in the USA. Ethiopia is the first African country to be featured in this way.

He called on "The fine coffee sector to be united as never before to take advantage of this priceless opportunity to reveal and share its unique coffee treasures with a uniquely appreciative audience of coffee connoisseurs" he added.

The annual SCAA event gathers together the largest number of gourmet coffee professionals and promoters in the world.

This announcement follows on the heels of an upswell in coffee companies joining Ethiopia's network of licensed distributors since the last SCAA in May 2007. More than 40 companies are in active discussions and 19 have signed to date, including the Starbucks Coffee Corporation.

"Affirmation of our approach, acknowledgement of our ownership of the marks and a commitment to invest in public promotion by the Starbucks Coffee Corporation has definitely meant an acceleration in take up and interest from other major gourmet and fine food retail chains and coffee companies," commented Getachew Mengistie, Director General of the EIPO. "We are looking forward to announcing some more big names from next month and have events scheduled in London and Washington in the autumn," he added.


1. Ethiopia operates on a different calendar from the Gregorian version, adopted by the rest of the world. On September 10th it will celebrate the turn of the new millennium, seven years after the year 2000.

2. All licensees commit in their agreements with Ethiopia to promote the trademarked fine coffees brands and to provide market information and abide by basic brand guidelines developed by Ethiopia.

3. News and reports on the Initiative as well as the basic version of the licensing agreement and the terms and conditions can be downloaded and read on the Trademarking and Licensing Initiative dedicated website www.EthiopianCoffeeNetwork.com.

For more information, please contact:

Ron Layton Light Years IP
Phone: 202 547-7515
Getachew Mengistie Ethiopian Intellectual Property Office
Phone: +251-11-5534969


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