The Geographical Indications (GIs) and Traditional Specialities Guaranteed (TSGs) schemes offer a wide range of benefits for stakeholders, including a fair return and competition for farmers and producers. While they are not applied systematically in all Member States, and face low consumer awareness and understanding in some Member States, they do provide a clear EU added value. GIs and TSGs ensure the integrity of the internal EU market and provide common standards for trade with third countries. These are among the key findings from the ‘Evaluation of GIs and TSGs protected in the EU’ published today by the European Commission.
Based on an external study and additional sources of information, this evaluation contributes to the on-going revision of the European GI system for agricultural products, wines and spirit drinks and its related impact assessment.
The evaluation concluded that the objectives of GIs and TSGs have been achieved effectively. They deliver a wide range of possible benefits for stakeholders such as a fair return and competition for farmers and producers, although not systematically in all Member States. Main limitations are the low consumer awareness and understanding of the schemes in some Member States, the complex and long registration procedures and certain weaknesses in controls at the downstream stages of the value chain. The other core policy objectives – upholding GI as intellectual property right, safeguarding the integrity of the internal market, and helping the producers of TSG products to safeguard traditional methods of production and recipes – are broadly achieved.
During the period 2010 to 2020, the number of registered GI names increased by 27% to over 3000, while the number of registered TSG names doubled, albeit only to 60 registrations.
However, the specific objective of the TSG scheme is not fully achieved. The main element hindering the success of the scheme is the perceived low added value for producers to register a TSG. This stems from a combination of different factors such as the low consumer awareness of TSG and its complex registration process.
Nevertheless, GIs/TSGs are assessed to be efficient, with the various benefits for producers outweighing the costs of a complex and lengthy registration procedure, and low costs for public bodies (at EU and national levels) at an estimated 0.12% of the total sales value.
The evaluation assessed the schemes as relevant for both private stakeholders and public authorities and did not identify any major incoherence between GIs and EU trademarks, GIs/TSGs and national/regional schemes, or GIs/TSGs and other EU policies.
The European Union protects more than 3400 names, covering agricultural products, including also fishery and aquaculture products, wines, spirit drinks and aromatised wine products, under its EU quality schemes.
Geographical indications confer intellectual property rights for names of specific products, whose characteristics, quality attributes or reputation are linked to the area of production. Those include: protected designations of origin (PDO) and protected geographical indications (PGI) for agri-food products and wine as well geographical indications (GI) for spirit drinks.
Traditional speciality guaranteed (TSG) highlights traditional aspects such as a traditional production method or a traditional composition, without being linked to a specific geographical area. Registration of a TSG protects it as a labelling term against use to describe non-conforming products and uses misleading the consumer.
The key objectives of the GI and TSG schemes are to:
- ensure the protection of the names of specific products and traditional production methods, including the protection of intellectual property rights (IPR) for GIs;
- safeguard the integrity of the internal market;
- reach fair competition for farmers and producers;
- provide fair return to farmers and producer;
- provide clear and reliable information on the product to consumers;
- create a competitive landscape with a level playing field for producers in rural areas.
21 December 2021