Japan opposes China’s ‘Nishio Matcha’ trademark application

NISHIO, Aug. 23 ─ Japan’s Nishio Tea Cooperative has filed its opposition to a trademark application in China in an attempt to prevent it from registering “Nishio Matcha,” the brand name of finely ground green tea from central Japan.

The Nishio Tea Cooperative, a group of tea makers and retailers in Nishio and Anjo cities of Aichi prefecture, filed on Aug. 21 a notice of opposition with the Chinese trademark office.

The Chinese office is expected to make its decision about the application within a year, the Japanese cooperative said.

The Nishio cooperative exported about 100 tons of matcha in 2016, accounting for about 20 percent of the total production of the tea that is now consumed for its health benefits around the globe.

The trademark registration is critical for the Japanese cooperative to ensure that the brand name is reserved only for matcha from that region to give greater protection from misuse of the name overseas.

The Nishio Tea Cooperative had applied to register the trademark in China before the Chinese application was made.

The Japanese cooperative also said it has noticed another Chinese company is trying to register the brand name in the EU, and it will soon file a notice of opposition with the EU trademark office.

Japan’s existing framework for geographical indications (GI) has granted the name “Nishio Matcha” since March to offer improved protection of the regional identity in the country.

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