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Geographical indications

A geographical indication (GI) is a distinctive sign used to identify a product whose quality, reputation or other such characteristics relate to its geographical origin.

EU trade policy and geographical indications

The EU supports better protection of geographical indications internationally due to the increasing number of violations throughout the world. The EU is active in multilateral and bilateral negotiations protecting EU geographical indications.

The EU's agricultural product quality policy

Geographical indication handbook

The EU’s GI handbook helps EU producers to assert their rights and protect their geographical indications outside Europe.

Geographical Indications and TRIPS: 10 Years Later… A Roadmap for EU GI holders to get protection in other WTO Members.

Part one explains the rules of international treaties, in particular the TRIPS (trade-related aspects of intellectual property rights) agreement. It also examines the role of EU bilateral agreements.

Part two contains examples of difficulties that EU producers encounter protecting their GI names outside the EU. It also provides recommendations and suggestions for producers to protect their names outside the EU.

At a multilateral level

The WTO’s 1994 agreement on intellectual property contains a section on geographical indications. It enhances their protection and extends it to more countries than previous international agreements.

The EU is one of the main supporters of negotiations on geographical indications in the WTO’s Doha Development Agenda.

Negotiations have included establishing an international register for geographical indications and the extending the protection currently granted to wines and spirits to all products.

At a bilateral level

The EU negotiates GI protection under two different agreements: specific 'standalone' agreements on GIs and broader trade agreements.

Two civil dialogue groups advise the EU's agriculture department on geographical indications in international trade:

While a system using geographical indications to protect many kinds of food products has been in place for a long time, there is currently no EU-wide system of protection via geographical indications for non-agricultural products.

Geographical indication policy within the EU

More on geographical indications

Geographical indications for:

World Trade Organization and Geographical Indications

Geographical Indications Gateway - Information on GI laws, treaties, committees, and symposiums

World Intellectual Property Organization Lex - Search for national laws on intellectual property rights, including GIs