Protection of geographical indications at European level now in the hands of the EUIPO

On April 13, 2022, the European Commission presented the first-ever EU framework to protect the intellectual property rights associated with unique European handicraft and agri-food products (European Commission – Press release of 31 March 2022).

The new system will allow for easy and cost-effective registration of geographical indications by introducing a two-step registration process. This requires producers to submit their applications for protection of geographical indications to the competent authorities of the Member States (national phase), who then submit applications to the EUIPO (European phase) for further assessment and approval.

Member States that do not have a national application procedure can submit applications directly to the EUIPO.

Critics’ fears that the increased involvement of the EU Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) in the management of geographical indications would move towards a “branding approach” were dismissed by EUIPO Executive Director Christian Archambeau.

Whereas trademarks are individual intellectual property rights, the use of which the owner may grant to a licensee. Geographical indications, on the other hand, are collective rights available to producers who want to follow the production rules for that geographical indication and geographical area.

If you have any questions about geographical indications and trademarks, please contact us.



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