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Protection and control

Registered names of Geographical indications (GI) are legally protected against imitation and misuse. Controls and legal actions against misuse of GI are carried out by national authorities.

Contrary to other intellectual property rights such as trademarks or patents, GIs are available to all producers whose products originate in a defined geographical area and comply with the specifications set out for the GI.

The legal concept of a "geographical indication" is a way of providing legal protection against imitation for food and agricultural products. Protection through geographical indications focuses on preventing the misuse of names which could mislead consumers as to the origin of agriculture products and their quality or characteristics.

Member States take administrative or judicial measures to prevent or stop the unlawful use of geographical indications that are produced or marketed in their territory. The competent authorities of Member States pdf - 403 KB [403 KB] carry out controls to verify the compliance of product specification and to monitor the market in order to detect possible cases of usurpation. When the national competent authority identifies non-compliance, it takes action to ensure that the operator remedies the situation by taking appropriate administrative or judicial measures.


Protecting EU geographical indications at international level

Outside the EU territory, EU geographical Indications are protected only if and insofar such names are covered by an international agreement. Therefore, outside the EU, the protection of each geographical indication depends on which country is taken into consideration.

Trade policy is a core competence of the EU. The latter is active in multilateral and bilateral negotiations protecting EU geographical indications.

Multilateral agreements:

Bilateral agreements EU-third countries:


Useful links on IPR

European Union:

IP issues within EU funded projects:

Search-engine for trade marks


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