The European Commission approved on 13 April 2022 a proposal for a regulation for protecting geographical indications (GIs) within the scope of craft and industrial products. This proposal seeks to provide a more effective protection for authentic products, not only within the European Union, but also at a global level, making it easier for the quality of such products to be duly recognised and also promoting the economic development of Europe’s regions.
This would thus mean that traditional craft and industrial products would be granted mechanisms identical to those already used in the agricultural sector and for wines and spirits.
This proposal for a regulation will obviously have an impact on the protection of various sectors of activity, including ceramics, glassware, clothing, textiles, lace, furniture, jewellery, porcelain, etc.
For the purpose of the regulation at issue, “craft products” mean any products produced totally by hand or with the aid of manual tools (or including by mechanical means, whenever the direct manual contribution of the craftsman is still the most important component of the finished product). As regards “industrial products”, they will include products made in a standardised way and on mass scale, through the use of machines.
In order for a product to be granted GI protection, it will be necessary to demonstrate that:
I) It originates in a specific place, region or country;
II) Its given quality, reputation or other characteristic is essentially attributable to its geographical origin;
III) At least one of the productions steps takes place in the defined geographical area.
The registration procedure for GIs will follow a two-stage system:
I) Associations of producers or producers will file an application with the competent authority of the respective Member State. After a positive assessment of the application, the national authority will refer the application to the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO).
II) The EUIPO will examine the application, publish it for opposition purposes at worldwide level and subsequently issue a decision of grant or refusal of the GI.
This is thus good news especially for the micro and small enterprises that mostly comprise the Portuguese business fabric, representing an incentive to investment in innovation so as to protect and improve the quality of the products covered and strengthen competitiveness and the fight against counterfeiting.