Are you aware of the benefits of geographical indications?
How did you celebrate New Year 2023? It may have been with a glass or two of Sussex wine, after all, Sussex wine became the latest UK geographical indication (GI) to be registered in June 2022.
The designation covers Sussex sparkling, still and origin wines and applies to all wines produced in the region that meet certain conditions, such as the varieties of grapes used and the minimum alcohol content. These include brands such as Rathfinny, Ridgeview and Bolney.
UK GIs are administered by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
Sussex wine is the second UK GI to be granted since an independent system was set up following Brexit. The first was Gower Salt Marsh Lamb, which received GI status in 2021.
English wines, particularly those originating from the south of England, are becoming more and more popular as climate change and investment in growing more vines delivers wines that are seen as comparable to some of those from Italy, Germany and even France. GI protection is viewed by many producers as a boost for the industry.
GIs, which are well established in the EU, are still a relatively unknown form of IP protection in the UK. But it looks likely that more and more will be granted in the future, so it is definitely something to consider if you are in the food or beverage industry.
GIs are quite different to other forms of IP – for example they can apply to multiple producers in a given region – so careful thought should be given to how you can take advantage of them and, equally importantly, how to avoid inadvertently misusing them.