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EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement - Protected Geographical Indications

View profile for Julie Robinson
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This brief article aims to answer some questions about the use of Protected Geographical Indications following the provisional coming into force of the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) on 1 January 2021.

From 1 January 2021 the names of UK agrifood products with an existing EU “geographical indication” (GI) registration will continue to be protected in the EU, in the same way as any other registered third country product (e.g. from China or Costa Rica). It will also be protected in the UK, and in third countries where a UK continuity agreement includes such protection e.g. Switzerland.

Under the terms of the UK/EU Withdrawal Agreement the UK Government is bound to recognise and give protection to EU registrations in place on 31 December 2020.

The Government is introducing its own scheme to deal with GIs in GB, to be managed by Defra. A UK GI logo is available and will be mandatory on packaging from 1 January 2024 for products produced and sold in GB, but the EU logo may also be used if the product has EU protection too.

For new products, two separate applications will have to be made to secure protection in GB and in the EU (incl. Northern Ireland), one to the UK and one to the EU. More details can be found here.

The TCA itself has just four lines dealing with GIs. It simply provides that the UK and the EU “may jointly use reasonable endeavours” to agree rules for the protection and effective domestic enforcement of their geographical indications. In other words, the small print on enforcement is to be agreed, but with little sense of urgency.

For further information, please contact Julie Robinson or any member of the Roythornes Food and Drink team.

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