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First German Coffee Importer Signs Up for Ethiopia's Coffee Initiative

Published 12-06-07

Submitted by Light Years IP

ADDIS ABEBA AND HAMBURG "“ December 6, 2007. Ethiopia's fine coffee sector is aiming to reach out to the many players who promote its distinctive specialty coffees around the world. To do this, Ethiopia is creating a new international network of licensed distributors of its fine coffees. It has signed up 35 companies in USA, Japan, UK, Holland, Canada and South Africa to date.

Following on from a presentation to the German Coffee Association in October the Ethiopian Intellectual Property Office today announced the signature of a licensing agreement by the first German coffee treading company, Heinrich Christen GmbH, which is the oldest and one of the prominent coffee companies in Germany.

Ethiopia is the largest African exporter to Germany, and is 7th largest on the world market, exporting about 655,000 bags of green coffee in 2006. A significant share of Germany's imports from Ethiopia and other producing countries, are re-exported, making German importers a vital link in the marketing chain for Ethiopia’s Trade marking and Licensing Initiative.

"We offer a heartfelt welcome to Heinrich Christen company," remarked EIPO Director General, Getachew Mengistie today. "German consumers are beginning to show appreciation for fine coffees and we have noted the rapid spread of private roasters and innovative coffee bars offering gourmet coffees in big cities like Hamburg. We are delighted at the prospect of working with German importers and distributors to communicate more about our heritage coffees such as Sidamo, Yirgacheffe and Harar/ Harrar, and their economic importance to many millions of Ethiopian farmers and their families," he added.

The manager of Heinrich Christen GmbH, Frank-H.Christen said that his "company has been buying Ethiopian coffee for more than five decades and recognizes the best quality of Ethiopian fine coffees is due to the intangible values they incorporate built up over centuries by the skill and knowledge of Ethiopian Fine Coffee Producers." He also remarked that "Ethiopian coffee growers shall benefit from the possibility of having their outstanding product being differentiated to a high degree."

The EIPO Licensing Management Team responsible for dialogue with importers, roasters and retail distributors hopes to be able to visit several other companies in Germany who have expressed interest in the New Year.

Contact Details:
Heinrich Christen GmbH, Hamburg: Frank Heinrich Christen, Manager,
+ 40 / 36 54 89

EIPO: Getachew Mengistie, Director General, EIPO +251 1 155534969
E-mail: eipo_dg@ or eipo@

Ethiopian Embassy, Berlin: Tel: +49 (0)30-77-20-60
Mr. Tsehaye Woldegebriel "“Counselor, Business Affairs Sector
Tel: +49(0)30-772-0619 E-Mail:


The German Coffee Association/Deutscher Kaffeeverband is the foremost representative body of the German coffee trade, with 106 members, reflecting the whole spectrum of coffee importers, traders and roasters.

For more information on Ethiopia's Trademarking and Licensing Initiative, its goals and activities, see the dedicated website:

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Light Years IP (LYIP) is a non-profit organization dedicated to alleviating poverty by assisting developing country producers gain ownership of their Intellectual Property (IP) and to use the IP to increase their export income and improve the security of that income. LYIP is pioneering a Poverty Alleviating IP Solutions (PAIPS) approach to help developing world producers identify and own their IP. We believe IP offers a business strategy that can help developing countries increase income, improve the security of their income, and alleviate poverty. We assist producers, exporters, and governments in the developing world to analyze their export potential with respect to identifying the value of intangibles and then using IP tools (i.e. patents, trademarks, licenses) to secure more sustained and higher export income. The ownership of IP is secured in market countries through the existing IP legal frameworks of the developed world.

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