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  • Writer's pictureRosie Burbidge

What’s changing for GIs in the EU?

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The revised EU regulation on geographical indications for agricultural products, wines and spirit drinks was published on 23 April 2024 and entered into force on 13 May 2024.


The regulation introduces a number of changes designed to improve protection for GIs in the EU and promote sustainability. It also gives responsibility for establishing and maintaining the Union Register for GIs to EUIPO.


Key changes to GIs

The regulation aims to ensure that GIs are protected online as well as offline, and requires that domain names using GIs illegally be shut down or geo-blocked.


It also sets out that a GI designating a product used as an ingredient may be used in the name of the product, as well as its labelling or advertising, only if the GI is used in sufficient quantities to confer an essential characteristic on the processed product. The label must indicate the percentage of the ingredient.


The regulation gives more rights to producers, who will be able to prevent or counter any measures or commercial practices which are detrimental to the image and value of their products. Producer names must also be prominent alongside the GI on packaging.


The registration process for GIs has been simplified with a fixed deadline of six months for scrutiny of new GIs.


The regulation aims to promote sustainability by encouraging producers to prepare sustainability reports. However, a proposal to make sustainable practices mandatory for GI applications was rejected by the Parliament.


For more information about the latest changes, see the reports on MARQUES Class 46 blog and euractiv and the European Parliament announcement. EUIPO has a GI hub with further resources.


What does this mean?

GIs are an important asset for certain industries. In addition to GIs for agricultural products, the EU is also introducing GI protection for craft and industrial products (see our post here).


Given the relatively broad scope of protection for GIs, which could impact other IP rights, it is important to be familiar with the latest developments in this area.


To find out more about the issues raised in this blog contact Rosie Burbidge, Intellectual Property Partner at Gunnercooke LLP in London - rosie.burbidge@gunnercooke.com


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