Since 2011, the Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (DG GROW) has been considering the opportunity of extending GI protection at EU level to non-agricultural products to harmonise the fragmented system of laws that exist at national level.
On 29 April 2021, the Commission launched a detailed stakeholders consultation
EU-wide protection of geographical indications for non-agricultural products which will be open till 22 July 2021. The consultation aims at capturing the views of all relevant stakeholders on the problems related to the existing legal protection of authentic geographically-rooted non-agricultural products within the internal market; on the benefits and risk of EU action; on the available policy options including the control and enforcement of a future EU-protection system for such products; on the potential impacts of these policy options.
Research shows that EU-wide GI protection for non-agricultural products can function as an incentive to preserve craft heritage and traditional know-how, protect regional intellectual property and provide a platform to extend to wider markets and new channels, such as craft tourism and digital marketplaces. Likewise, EU-wide GI protection for non-agricultural products would increase regional value chains, trigger an increase of intra-EU value of exports and a substantial effect on employment in areas with relatively high unemployment and poverty rates. In addition, the core principle of GI protection, i.e. demonstrate the link between the geographic origin and the specific quality and/or notoriety of a product, can raise the visibility of the product and thus the willingness to pay; provide concrete and transparent information to consumers about the origin & the quality of products and enable them to take well-informed purchase decisions; and slightly limit the availability of the non-authentic products and misleading commercial practices.
In the light of the above, the CoR is drawing up an opinion on
Protecting Industrial and Craft Geographical Indications in the European Union for which its ECON Commission has appointed
Martine Pinville (FR/PES), Member of the Regional Council of Nouvelle-Aquitaine, as rapporteur.
The Opinion is scheduled for adoption at the ECON Commission meeting of 24 June 2021 and at the Plenary Session of October 2021.
The consultation will afford the CoR rapporteur, Mrs. Martine Pinville, and
relevant stakeholders the opportunity to look into both the opportunities and challenges a potential introduction of GI protection might bring on consumers, producers, and on the regional economies where the products are produced.
The CoR rapporteur would like to consult relevant stakeholders and gather their input on the challenges that are linked to the creation of an EU wide GI system for non-agricultural products, notably:
- the opportunities for stakeholders/SMEs to protect their product/to benefit for wide IPR protection through a GI sui generis system;
- the limits of legal protection conferred by trademarks systems (limit of the name protection, costs of enforcement, not compulsory controls, etc.);
- role and place for private/public cooperation in particular with local authorities;
- The importance of collective and shared vision of the GI product, included in the specifications and product standards;
- potential and relevant content of the specifications of the product and quality standards (quality, know-hows definition, link between geographical area and the product, controls);
- enabling factors for an easier collaboration among local stakeholders: SMEs, craftsmen, chambers of commerce, public authorities;
- how to create/develop positive impact via GIs: on innovation/R&D, sustainable development clear and transparent competition; transparent information for the consumer; Short supply chains /relocation;
- enforcement/legal protection (same level as agri GIs) including on the internet; fight against counterfeiting;
- procedures and costs in the application and registration process; role of the SMEs/craftsmen in this process;
- promotion tools for branding and raising awareness of producers and consumers/all stakeholders about the added-value of the scheme; role that regions, SMEs, business associations, regional chambers of commerce can and should play in the development of the new system. Register here
Deadline for registration: Monday, 17 May, 17:00