Matters of Taste – EU Geographical Indicators and Quality Schemes

Written by | January 3, 2023

Trade Marks

Intellectual Property (‘IP’) rights are possibly most understood to be associated with such things as brand names (trade marks), ‘creations of the mind’ or artistic endeavours (copyright) and inventions (patents).

There is a specific type of IP right: geographical indication protection (‘GIs’) that protects trade names and distinctive signs associated with a specific region to safeguard the geographical origin and reputation of a product, stemming, for example, from certain qualities that can be attributed to the characteristics of their territories and the know-how of the people living there. Think Champagne, Prosciutto di Parma, Parmigiano di Reggiano, Kalamata Olives and Φέτα / Feta.

Under EU quality schemes, the names of products for which an intrinsic link exists between product qualities or characteristics and geographical origin are protected. There are plenty of Irish food and drink products that use this particular EU IP right:

· Waterford Blaa

· Poitín

· Uisce Beatha Eireannach

· Connemara Hill Lamb / Uain Sléibhe Chonamara

GIs are not just IP. They are also tools aimed at supporting the objectives of traditional and rural development and address consumers’ growing demand for authenticity and sustainability.

For most products at least one of the stages of production, processing or preparation must takes place in the region named in the GI application (for example Kalamata olive oil PDO is entirely produced in the region of Kalamata in Greece, using olive varieties from that area).

If you have any queries about your food product and it’s suitability to have an EU geographical indication attached to it, Briffa can help you assess the best way forward. To book a free consultation, with one of our specialist IP lawyers, contact us on

Written by Mark Eiffe – Solicitor

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