According to recent news, EU Commission has proposed a new regulation for the protection of handicraft and industrial products associated with their regions under Geographical Indications (GI) framework of EU.
The current EU geographical indication system successfully protects agricultural products, food and wine-spirit drinks. The aim of this new proposal for regulation is to broaden the system to protect traditional craft and industrial products. It will also provide a more comprehensive GI protection level in EU than the current national level GI protection in member countries. It is worth mentioning that taking legal actions against counterfeits of the original traditional crafts and industrial products will be much more effective.
The new registration system
According to EU commission’s announcement, the proposed new system for the registration of GIs (for crafts and industrial products) will have a two-level application process.
The applicants (producers of crafts and industrial products) will be able to file their GI applications to designated Member States’ national offices for reviewing at first and then they can submit successful applications to EUIPO for final approval. Also, the applicants will be able to file an application directly with EUIPO, if the applicant’s member state does not have a national procedure for reviewing this type of a GI.
It is also stated that new GI protection system will be fully compatible with international GI protection system (WIPO Lisbon System) so that the applicants can protect their GI in all countries that are signatories (as of the publishing date, the total number of contracting Parties are 11) of the Geneva Act on Appellations of Origin and Geographical Indications.
GI protection in Turkey
According to Turkish Industrial Property Code (SMK); food, agriculture, mining, handicraft and industrial products that meet the necessary conditions can be protected as national GIs or traditional product names. Therefore, the Turkish GI protection system already covers handicraft and industrial products.
However, Turkey has not yet been a contracting party of the Geneva Act of the Lisbon Agreement on Appellations of Origins and Geographical Indications.
The proposal for this new GI system will provide a higher level of protection as it will include EU handicraft and industrial products.
And certainly, the Geneva Act of the Lisbon Agreement on Appellations of Origins and Geographical Indications is the main supporting system for the development of the contracting parties’ rural and less-developed regions by providing IP protection for their agricultural, food, handicraft and industrial products.