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Europe Day 2019

Lebenmittel wie Schinken, Käse und Oliven

For a peaceful and united Europe

On 9 May 1950, the then French foreign minister Robert Schuman presented his plan to consolidate the coal and steel production of the former war opponents, thus marking a decisive turning point in European history. This way, he laid the foundation for the reconciliation of the former "hereditary enemies" Germany and France. With the European Coal and Steel Community founded in 1952, the decisive prerequisite for a sustainable peace treaty in and for Europe was established. Since 1986 we have been celebrating "Europe Day" on 9 May to commemorate the beginnings of the European integration process. For us, Europe Day is an occasion to focus on a Europe-wide IP right, the "protected indications of geographical origin".

Europe-wide protection: red and blue logo

Logos zu den Herkunftsangaben

Do these logos look familiar to you? Perhaps you have already noticed them when doing the shopping, as the two signs are used for food and agricultural products. The protected designation of origin and the protected geographical indication are European IP rights entered in a register kept by the European Commission. The protection relates to the fact that goods bearing the logo actually originate from the geographical region indicated and that the quality and properties of the products are essentially based on their origin in that region. For each product there is a product specification in which the product is precisely described.

The DPMA and the protected geographical indications

The examination procedure before the European Commission is preceded by a national procedure, which in Germany falls within the scope of competence of the DPMA. The examination takes place in the trade mark division. However, the protected designation of origin and the protected geographical indication are not trade marks, but IP rights of their own kind.

What makes the difference?

The protected designation of origin (PDO, red logo) is the more valuable logo because there is a particularly close link between the properties of the product and its production in the region of origin. All production steps must take place in the geographical area. In the case of the protected geographical indication (PGI, blue logo), however, it is sufficient for one of the production stages, such as processing, to take place in the region of origin.

Which benefits consumers enjoy

The aim of this IP right is to meet the consumer's need for quality products and the preservation of traditional products. Food controls ensure that the products really come from the region of origin and comply with the specification.

Which products are protected

A total of 90 products are protected for Germany, for example: Bayerisches Bier as well as Kölsch (beer), Allgäuer Emmentaler (cheese), Thüringer Rostbratwurst (sausage) and the Bayerische Breze (pretzel). Among the products registered for other EU countries are well-known products such as Parmigiano Reggiano (cheese), Aceto balsamico di Modena (vinegar) or Roquefort (cheese). A total of 1,382 indications are registered, including 747 protected geographical indications and 635 protected designations of origin. Information on all European protected indications of geographical origin can be found in the DOOR database of the European Commission. The applications and decisions published at the DPMA can be viewed in DPMAregister under the tab Geographical Indications.

Picture 1: iStock.com/NelliSyr, Picture 2: DPMA

Last updated: 13 November 2019 

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