Geographical indications (GIs) establish intellectual property rights for products whose qualities are specifically linked to the area of production.
They identify goods as originating in a country, region or locality where a particular quality, reputation or other characteristic of the product is essentially attributable to its geographical origin, for example, Bordeaux (wine), Vetro di Murano (glass) or Prosciutto di Parma (ham).
The purpose of protecting a GI as an intellectual property right is to ensure fair competition for producers and to provide the consumer with reliable information on the place or method of production and the quality of the product. Geographical indication protection helps to preserve traditional, high-quality products and know-how, and jobs related to them thus supporting small and medium-sized businesses and manufacturers.
Geographical indications for protected agricultural products, food and drink names
There are three European Union schemes for the protection and promotion of geographical indications relating to quality agricultural products and foodstuffs, namely Protected Designation of Origin, Protected Geographical Indication, and Traditional Speciality Guaranteed.
Protected Designation of Origin
Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) for products with a strong link to the defined geographical area where all production steps have taken place. Examples are food, agricultural products and wines.
Protected Geographical Indication
Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) emphasises the relationship between the specific geographic region where at least one production step has taken place and the product, where a particular quality, reputation or other characteristic is essentially attributable to its geographical origin. Examples are food, agricultural products, wines, spirit drinks, craft and industrial products.
Traditional Specialities Guaranteed
Traditional Specialities Guaranteed (TSG) emphasise traditional composition and mode of production of products (proven usage on the domestic market for at least 30 years).
The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine is responsible for the GI protection schemes for food, agricultural products and spirit drinks. Further information is available at agriculture.gov.ie/gi.
Geographical indications for craft and industrial products
On 13 April 2022, the European Commission published a proposal for a regulation on geographical indication for craft and industrial products. The regulation provides for a harmonised regulatory framework for geographical indication (GI) protection for craft and industrial products at EU level that will incentivise the production of quality authentic craft and industrial products (CIs).
The main objectives of the regulation are to:
- establish an EU-wide protection for geographical indications of craft and industrial products allowing producers to protect the intellectual property rights of their products across the EU and act against fake products, including online
- allow full compatibility with international GI protection by enabling producers of registered craft and industrial GIs to protect their products in all countries that are signatories of the Geneva Act on Appellations of Origin and Geographical Indications under the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), while enabling GIs from non-EU countries to access GI protection within the EU
- increase the visibility of such products for consumers helping them to identify authentic GI products so they can make more informed choices
- support the development of Europe’s rural and other regions by providing incentives for producers, especially micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), to invest in new authentic products and regions, especially rural and less developed ones, to retain unique skills and benefit from the reputation of GIs including by attracting tourists
The regulation applies to a large variety of craft and industrial products, such as natural stones, woodwork, jewellery, textiles, lace, cutlery, glass, and porcelain, hides and skins and raw cotton.
The European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) will play an important role in implementing the new protection system, particularly regarding the management of the registration procedures for craft and industrial GIs.
The regulation was formally adopted and signed by the European Parliament and the Council on 18 October 2023 and was published in the Official Journal of the EU on 27 October 2023. The regulation entered into force on 16 November 2023 and all EU member states have two years to implement the regulation into their national legislation.
Public consultation on proposal for a regulation on geographical indication protection for craft and industrial products