New regulation to strengthen protection of EU Geographical Indications

Mar 27, 2024

Author: Miranda García Lera (AEIDL)

The European Council has officially adopted a new regulation aimed at enhancing the protection of geographical indications (GIs) and other quality schemes for wine, spirit drinks, and agricultural products across the European Union. This measure not only strengthens safeguards in both digital and physical marketplaces but also streamlines the GI registration process.

The newly endorsed regulation is set to deliver substantial benefits to the rural economy safeguarding the EU’s diverse and rich gastronomic heritage on a global scale.

Key enhancements to the GI system

This regulation introduces several improvements aimed at bolstering the current GI framework:

  • Empowered producer groups, by granting them both the authority and duty to oversee their GIs, including to represent their members within intellectual property enforcement networks.
  • Exclusive rights for recognised producer groups. Member states now have the option to appoint producer groups as ‘recognised producer groups’, granting them with exclusive rights to act on behalf of all producers under a designated GI. This collective representation approach streamlines protection efforts and provides a unified voice for producers.
  • Reinforced role of the European Commission in examining GI registration applications.
  • Enhanced online protection. This includes safeguarding against the misuse of GIs in domain names through geo-blocking measures, a task delegated to the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) to establish a domain name information and alert system.
  • Greater protection for GI designated ingredients. In these cases, recognised producer groups must be notified, and the ingredient’s percentage clearly indicated. This ensures transparency and maintains the value of the GI designation.

What’s next?

Following its formal adoption, the regulation awaits signature and will be published in the Official Journal of the EU. It is set to become effective on the twentieth day after its publication.