Indications of Geographical Origin
Protection for foodstuffs and agricultural products
Certain foodstuffs and agricultural products, for example, fruit and vegetables, fish, meat and meat products, cheese, bread, pastry and beer can be protected as geographical indications. This is a Europe-wide IP right. The legal basis is the Regulation (EU) no. 1151/2012 with the German implementing provisions in Sections 130 to 136 Trade Mark Act (Markengesetz).
There are two categories of protection, these are
- protected designations of origin (PDO), e.g. "Allgäuer Sennalpkäse" (cheese)
- protected geographical indications (PGI), e.g. "Thüringer Rostbratwurst" (sausage)
In both cases, this must be a name that you use to designate your product. The origin of the product itself must be a specific place, a specific region or a specific country. The essential requirement for protection is that there is a link between the properties of your product and its production in the region of origin.
For protected designations of origin, the link must be particularly close, i.e. all production steps must take place in the place or region concerned. However, for protected geographical indications, it is sufficient if at least one of the production steps takes place in the geographical area of origin and the quality, the reputation or another characteristic of the product is essentially attributable to its geographical origin.
The application for registration of a geographical indication/designation of origin must be filed at the DPMA. The examination is conducted in two stages, first by the DPMA and then by the European Commission, which also carries out registration. Detailed information is available in the information leaflet "Information on the protection of geographical indications and designations of origin" W 7729.1.
Protected geographical indications and designations of origin must be taken into consideration as absolute grounds for refusal in trade mark application procedures and invalidity proceedings and as grounds for opposition in trade mark proceedings concerning conflicting signs.
Pictures: iStock.com/valentinrussanov, DPMA
Last updated: 8 May 2020