Industrial Property Office

Community geographical indication and appellation of origin

Council Regulation (EEC) No. 2081/92 of 14 July 1992 on the protection of geographical indications and appellation of origin for agricultural products and foodstuffs (as amended) regulates two independent groups of protected geographical title: geographical indications and appellation of origin.


Council Regulation (EEC) No. 2081/92 of 14 July 1992 on the protection of geographical indications and appellation of origin for agricultural products and foodstuffs (as amended) regulates two independent groups of protected geographical title: geographical indications and appellation of origin.

As mentioned in a preamble to the regulation, consumers attach greater importance to the quality of foodstuff rather than to the quantity. This fact increases a demand concerning agricultural products or foodstuffs with an identifiable geographical origin.

In the European Union, the labelling of agricultural products and foodstuffs is subject to the general rules laid down in Council Directive 79/112/EEC of 18 December 1978, on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to the labelling, presentation and advertising of foodstuffs. In reference to their specific nature, a regulation was adopted containing the additional special provisions for agricultural products and foodstuffs from specified geographical areas.

This Regulation lays down rules on the protection of appellation of origin and geographical indications of agricultural products intended for human consumption referred to in an Annex II to the Treaty establishing the European Community and of the foodstuffs referred to in an Annex I to this Regulation and agricultural products listed in an Annex II to this Regulation. The regulation applies among other things to these foodstuffs: beer, natural mineral waters and spring waters, beverages made from plant extracts, bread, pastry and other baker’s wares, natural gums and resins and following agriculture products: hay and essential oils. This regulation does not apply to wine products and to spirit drinks as the particular provisions for this field were published earlier. The list in the Annex may be amended.

A protected appellation of origin (PAO) is the name of a region, a specific place or a country used for an agriculture product or foodstuffs

  • originating in that region, the specific place or the country and
  • whose quality or other characteristics are essentially or exclusively due to a particular geographical environment with its inherent natural and/or human factors and whose processing, production and preparation run in delimited geographical region.

The close link between the product and the geographical location is required.

A protected geographical indication (PGI) is the name of a region, a specific place or a country used for an agriculture product or foodstuffs

  • originating in that region, specific place or country and
  • possessing a quality, a reputation or the other typical characteristics which may be attributed to the geographical environment and whose processing and/or production and/or preparation run in delimited geographical region.

Distinction between the PAO and PGI is laid in second part of definition. For registration of PGI it is sufficient when at least one stage of commodity production is in close relationship with said area. It still must be a product originating in the region of carried name and must possess a reputation attributed to its geographical origin.

Registration procedure

The registration procedure prescribed by the regulation runs in following steps: the association of producers files the application with the Member State, in which the geographical area of product origin is located.

The application which includes so-called product specification must consist following information:

  • name of the agricultural product or foodstuffs;
  • description of the agricultural product or foodstuff;
  • definition of the geographical area;
  • evidence that the agricultural product or the foodstuff originates in the geographical area;
  • description of the method of obtaining the agricultural product or foodstuff;
  • importance of a geographical area for a product or foodstuff;
  • details of the inspection structures;
  • specific labelling details.

A particular national body (it is often a ministry of agriculture or an industrial property office) forwards the application to the European Commission. If the Commission concludes that the name qualifies for protection, the specification is published in the Official Journal of the European Communities; within six months from the date of publication any Member State may object to the registration; if no statement of objections is notified to the Commission (or if the objection is not acceptable), the Commission records the name in the “Register of protected appellation of origin and protected geographical indications”.

Names that have become generic may not be registered. A name that has become generic means the name of an agricultural product or a foodstuff which, although it relates to the place or the region where this product or foodstuff was originally produced or marketed, has become the common name of an agricultural product or a foodstuff. In this way the PGI could infiltrate to a general language and designate a group of identical products which do not necessarily originate in the region designated with the name.

Range of protection

The protection resulting from the regulation has a wide range. Registered names shall be protected against:

  • any direct or indirect commercial use of a registered name for products, to which the registration is not related, so far as those products are comparable to the products registered under that name or (in case where the products are not comparable) so far as using the name profits from the reputation of the protected name;
  • any misuse, imitation or evocation, even if the true origin of the product is indicated or if the protected name is translated or accompanied by an expression such as “sort”, “type”, “imitation”, “method” or similar; this restriction is very important - it goes above the scope of the requirements for elimination of consumer misleading;
  • any other false or misleading indication concerning the provenance, origin, nature or essential qualities of the product, mentioned on the packaging, the advertising materials etc., liable to convey a false impression concerning its origin;
  • any other practice liable to mislead the public as to the true origin of the product. This paragraph is commonly formulated on purpose in order to fill in an information space in more detailed provisions.

Inspection structures

The regulation would be no good without an effective inspection structures. It should guarantee that the products bearing a protected name meet the requirements laid down in the specifications.

The regulation explains in detail, that the inspection structures may comprise one or more designated inspection authorities and/or private bodies approved for that purpose by the Member State. The Member State is responsible for decision whether the inspection will be executed by the private bodies or by the state government. The regulation introduces the reference to the standard EN 45011 of 26 June 1989. All private bodies must fulfil the requirements laid down in it. The acknowledgement concerning the standard fulfilment of the inspection body, issued by the accreditation body is not required; the Member State makes a judgement itself. A Member State can withdraw an approval when the criteria, under which it was issued, are no longer fulfilled.
 

Last modified on – 2011-01-24 12:26