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Ethiopia Takes Center Stage at SCAA Conference

Published 04-29-08

Submitted by Light Years IP

LONG BEACH, CA - (April 29, 2008) "“ Ethiopia, the birthplace of coffee, will be in the spotlight at the Specialty Coffee Association of America's (SCAA) 20th Annual Conference & Exhibition, May 2-5 in Minneapolis, Minn. The SCAA and Ethiopia, with the support of Starbucks Coffee Company, signed a sponsorship agreement in February at the Ethiopian Embassy in Washington, D.C. making Ethiopia the SCAA's first-ever African Portrait Country. The upcoming SCAA event in Minnesota will highlight Ethiopia through seminars, an exhibit and traditional coffee ceremony featuring Ethiopian music and dance, and cultural attires and customs that will be on display during the conference's May 2 welcome reception.

"Ethiopia is delighted to have been chosen as the portrait country sponsor at such a preeminent global coffee event," said Ethiopian Ambassador to the United States Dr. Samuel Assefa. "The SCAA Conference and Exhibition will give Ethiopia an unparalleled opportunity to present the fruits of our efforts to produce the world’s finest coffees. The event also will provide a chance for the conference delegates to explore Ethiopia- and we look forward to sharing the unique culture and heritage that help make Ethiopia such a fascinating country."

Getachew Mengistie, Director General of the Ethiopian Intellectual Property Office in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, said, "Ethiopia grows some of the world's matchless single origin coffees with their most unique range of flavor and aroma profiles. As the Portrait Country of the SCAA conference, the land that introduced this gift to the world is poised to showcase its millennium-long love affair with coffee before the ultimate coffee connoisseurs in Minneapolis."

Mengistie added, "Conference participants will also have an exceptional opportunity to share the Ethiopian distinctive coffee experience; to learn more about the trademarking and licensing initiative and new brand promotions of Ethiopia's most prized heritage coffees; to enjoy Ethiopian music, traditional coffee ceremonies and seminar presentations."

Attendees will also join Ethiopian coffee growers, cooperatives and exporters during three forums. The first session, held on May 3, features the achievements and progress of the Ethiopian Coffee Trademarking and Licensing Initiative. The second forum - also taking place on May 3 - presents discussions on how Ethiopian producers and international distributors can jointly meet the challenge of increasing the supply of the Ethiopian fine coffees while improving and maintaining quality. The third forum on May 4 will cover sustainability and quality control issues relating to Ethiopia's fine coffees under the country's current production and development strategy.

Facts about Ethiopia’s Coffee Industry

--Ethiopia, the birthplace of coffee, is Africa's leading arabica coffee producer and exporter.

--Coffee derives its name from the Kaffa region where the coffee plant is believed to have originated.

--Ethiopia grows some of the finest coffees in the world, including Sidamo, Harar and Yirgacheffe.

--In January, the price of Ethiopia's finest coffees rose by as much as 16 percent and exports more than doubled. Over the next five years, the government hopes to boost coffee production by 20 percent.

--Ethiopia has trademarked its fine coffee brands in 28 countries and has signed licensing agreements with more than 70 foreign coffee companies, roasters and distributors and 50 Ethiopian coffee exporters including three coffee farmers producers’ unions.

--Ethiopia produced 330,000 tons of beans in 2007-2008.

Sources: Embassy of Ethiopia and the Ethiopian Intellectual Property Office.

Ethiopia, as SCAA's Portrait Country, is just one of the many highlights at SCAA's 20th Annual Conference & Exhibition. As the industry's premier coffee event, the conference features in-depth educational sessions covering a variety of specialty coffee topics, hundreds of exhibit booths, a keynote presentation from Michael Shuman, author of "The Small-Mart Revolution," the 2008 SCAA United States Barista Championship, the 2008 SCAA Coffee of the Year Competition and the 2008 SCAA Roasters Choice Tasting Competition.

In accord with SCAA's mission of promoting sustainability in the specialty coffee industry, the association has created a carbon neutrality program to help offset emissions related to conference travel, lodging and energy consumption. All conference attendees are required to participate in the program. The funds collected from this program will be donated to non-profit organization, Trees for the Future, for the purchasing and planting of new trees.

About the SCAA

Celebrating 26 years of success, SCAA is the world's largest coffee trade association. SCAA members are located in more than 40 countries and represent every segment of the specialty coffee industry, from coffee growers to coffee roasters and retailers. The SCAA's mission is to be the recognized authority on specialty coffee, providing a common forum for the development and promotion of coffee excellence and sustainability.

The SCAA's dedication to excellence in coffee is realized through the setting of quality standards for the industry; conducting research on coffee, equipment and perfection of craft; and providing education, training, resources and business services for members. The SCAA's annual conference is held in a different U.S. city each year and is the coffee industry's largest gathering and exhibition.

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Light Years IP

Light Years IP

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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