The European Parliament has given its strong endorsement to new European Union (EU) regulations aimed at preserving the geographical indications (GIs) of craft and industrial products, following the example of existing rules for agricultural products. The new rules extend protection to prominent non-food products such as lace, glass, natural stones, jewelry, and porcelain throughout the EU and globally.
A key feature of the legislation is the establishment of a two-step registration process. It begins at the national level and continues with a rigorous evaluation of the application by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO). Member states can choose to establish a national registration authority or delegate the entire process to the EUIPO. They also have one year to identify names already protected at the national level that require protection in Europe.
The plenary vote confirmed the role of the EUIPO in supporting the accession to the Geneva Act of the Lisbon Agreement, with 613 votes in favour, 6 against, and 9 abstentions. An important aspect of these regulations is aimed at assisting micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in preparing their applications.
The next steps involve formal approval by the Council. Once approved, the regulation will come into effect twenty days after its publication in the Official Journal of the EU. The full implementation of the regulations is scheduled to begin two years later.
This initiative supports ongoing efforts to protect renowned local food and beverages at the EU level. The legislation also responds to citizens' proposals in the Conference on the Future of Europe, reflecting a commitment to preserving the cultural and production characteristics of these craft products.