Geographical indications -intellectual property rights that identify products having qualities, characteristics or a reputation due to natural and human factors linked to their place of origin- should be better protected online, MEPs say. Domains using a name of a GI without the right to do so must be automatically closed or assigned to a producer group that uses the GI legally. An alert system monitoring the registration of domain names should be set by the EU Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) for this purpose.
Parliament demands that GIs should be better protected in processed products. Processed products containing a GI ingredient should not be allowed to be named after the GI, unless permitted to do so by the GI’s producers.
Registering GIs should be faster, say MEPs. The Commission should have only five months to register a new GI. National authorities should manage most requests for changes to existing GI registrations without the Commission having to check them again. According to MEPs, the Commission has unique agricultural expertise and should therefore continue administering the GIs system, rather than the EUIPO.
Finally, MEPs say that recognised producer groups should get more rights and resources. They should be in charge of establishing minimum conditions for the use of a GI name and supervising the fair use of GIs. Recognised producer groups should also be able to receive compulsory financial contributions from all producers of the GI good.The text was adopted with 603 votes in favour, 18 against and 8 abstentions.
Rapporteur Paolo De Castro (S&D, IT) said: “Today’s text represents rare good news for our farmers, supporting a more competitive, sustainable and integrated agri-food system, to the benefit of our rural areas. Parliament’s position is meant to be an evolution of the Geographical Indications system, which is worth around €80 billion to the EU and is recognised worldwide as representing the excellence of the EU’s agri-food sector. GIs represent not only our economic and social heritage but they are also a crucial tool able to create economic value without the need to invest any public funds. Thanks to the strong mandate voted today, we have the great chance to reach an ambitious agreement with the Council on a stronger GIs system, that can truly meet the needs of our producers.”
Parliament is now ready to begin talks with EU governments on the final shape of the law, once Council has adopted its position, too.
GIs have been protected by the EU since the 1970s. Today, the EU register of GIs contains almost 3500 entries, which represent a sales value of EUR 74.8 billion. The sales value of a product with a protected name is often double that of similar products without a certification.
In adopting this resolution, Parliament is responding to citizens’ expectations to reduce the standardisation of products and recognise local and regional cultural and production peculiarities as expressed in the Proposals 12(3) of the conclusions of the Conference on the Future of Europe.