The European Parliament has greenlit a wide-ranging reform package aimed at enhancing protection for geographical indications in the EU. This regulation is a critical step in preserving the integrity of geographical indications for wine, alcoholic beverages, and agricultural products.

This reform not only fortifies the protection of geographical indications both online and offline but also bestows additional rights upon producers while streamlining the registration process for protected agricultural products.

The EU’s geographical indications register currently boasts 3,500 entries, representing a collective value nearing €80 billion. These indications significantly elevate the value of products, often fetching prices double that of uncertified counterparts.

Under the new rules, the use of geographical indications for ingredients in processed products is permitted, but only if the ingredient substantially influences the final product and no equivalent substitute is used. Moreover, labels must indicate the relevant percentage of the ingredient.

During negotiations, Members of the European Parliament advocated for stringent measures by national authorities to combat the illegal use of geographical indications both online and offline. Websites found unlawfully utilizing these indications will face closure or be subjected to access restrictions through geoblocking. The establishment of a warning system by the EU Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) will further aid in this endeavor.

This reform empowers producers to counter measures or practices that undermine the reputation and value of their products, including those resulting in devaluation and reduced prices.

urthermore, to enhance transparency for consumers, MEPs have ensured that the producer’s name will be prominently displayed alongside the geographical indication on the packaging of relevant products.