Council adopts new regulation on geographical indication protection for craft and industrial products
The Regulation on GI protection for craft and industrial products entered into force on 16the of November 2023. On 9 October 2023, the EU Council adopted a new regulation to protect the geographical indications (GIs) of renowned non-food craft and industrial products – it entered on force on 16.11.2023 (twenty days past its publication in the Official Journal of the EU).
According to the official news:
Today, 16 November 2023, the Regulation on GI protection for craft and industrial products (CIGIR) enters into force, twenty days after its publication in the Official Journal of the EU. This Regulation represents a crucial development in protecting the names of craft and industrial products rooted in the authenticity and traditional skills of their regions. Examples of products include Limoges porcelain, Solingen knives, Carrara marble and Madeira embroidery, among others.
While Geographical Indication (GI) protection has long been available for agricultural products at European Union level, identifying products such as Prosciutto di Parma and Champagne, there has been no EU-wide GI protection for the names of craft and industrial products. This lack of uniform protection led to divergence in the protection of craft and industrial GIs throughout the EU. It meant that the producers had to rely on national rules in each Member State and seek different legal options to protect the names of their products against infringement. The new Regulation recognises this disparity and provides a harmonised framework for the protection of the names of these valuable EU craft and industrial products and opens the possibility for non-EU countries to obtain a uniform GI protection in the EU.
To mark the occasion, the EUIPO has launched a GI Hub to offer up-to-date information on geographical indications in the EU.
Unified EU-Wide Protection through the EUIPO
The EUIPO has been given the role of the EU competent authority in respect for GIs for craft and industrial products pursuant to the Regulation that has entered into force today. From 1 December 2025, it will be possible to apply for the registration in the EU of the names of craft and industrial products meeting the necessary requirements through a single GI application covering all EU Member States.
The examination and registration process will, normally, consist of two phases (standard procedure):
- Producers will first file their GI applications with the Member States’ designated competent authorities for national level assessment.
- The national authorities will then submit successful applications for further evaluation and approval to the EUIPO.
- A direct application procedure to the EUIPO (direct registration procedure) will be a possibility for producers of those Member States that obtain from the Commission a derogation from the obligation to set up a national system.
Benefits of GI registration for producers and consumers
Producers of craft and industrial products identified through a registered GI will be allowed to use the official symbol of ‘protected geographical indication’ on their products. This logo will enable consumers to identify craft and industrial products with specific characteristics linked to their geographical origin, enabling them to make informed choices when purchasing these products.
The new Regulation will also support the development of Europe’s rural and other regions by providing incentives for producers, especially SMEs. It will therefore help retain unique skills, particularly in Europe’s rural and less developed regions, providing economic diversification and boosting tourism and economic recovery.
This new Regulation will facilitate the internationalisation of EU craft and industrial products by providing GI protection for EU producers in markets of non-EU countries that are Parties to the Geneva Act of the Lisbon Agreement on Appellations of Origin and Geographical Indications administered by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).
Next steps following the entry into force
The new system will be applicable from 1 December 2025. From this date, it will be possible to apply for registration of a GI. Existing national rights will cease to exist one year after, on 2 December 2026.
The EUIPO is currently developing and maintaining several IT tools and solutions to manage and promote GIs for craft and industrial products. These tools include the upcoming GIportal, functioning as an e-filing and management system, the Union Register dedicated to GIs for craft and industrial products, and the GIview database, currently accessible for protected GIs for agricultural products.
The Regulation is one of the key proposals under the Intellectual Property Action Plan and in April 2022 the Commission adopted the proposal. The Presidents of both the European Parliament and the European Council signed the Regulation on 18 October 2023 and it was published in the Official Journal of the EU on 27 October 2023.