Protection of geographical indications
Produced in partnership with Iona Silverman of Baker McKenzie
Protection of geographical indications

The following IP practice note Produced in partnership with Iona Silverman of Baker McKenzie provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Protection of geographical indications
  • International protection of geographical indications
  • Protection of geographical indications in the UK
  • Protection of geographical indications in the EU
  • Applications for PDO/PGI status
  • Enforcement of rights
  • Interaction with trade mark rights
  • Brexit

As of exit day (31 January 2020) the UK is no longer an EU Member State. However, in accordance with the Withdrawal Agreement, the UK has entered an implementation period, during which it continues to be subject to EU law. This has an impact on this Practice Note. For further guidance, see Practice Note: Brexit—IP rights.

Businesses often want to use marks which indicate the geographical origin of their products. In many circumstances, the geographical source of a particular type of product may indicate a level of quality or a particular characteristic that makes the product more desirable.

Using geographical indications (GIs) within marks does, however, raise potential issues. A trade mark, by its nature, is a monopoly right entitling the owner to prevent others from using the same or confusingly similar marks for the same or similar goods. Where a business has developed a cachet or reputation in its brand which incorporates a GI, it is not surprising that the business wants to protect that through the use of registered trade mark rights. However, this has to be balanced with the ability for all businesses to use common GIs which should not be owned or monopolised by one entity.

It has, however, long been recognised that certain GIs should be afforded separate and special protection to defend the prestige that comes with such indications. These protected

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