Posted by Laura Ercoli on Wednesday March 6th, 2024

EU Parliament improves and approves the new GI regulation

European Union rules on the protection of Geographical Indications are set to be strengthened and generally improved very soon, thanks to the final approval by the European Parliament of a new regulation that consolidates several existing EU regulations into a single text and defines with greater clarity and detail the necessary tools and procedures to enforce the rights of GI producers both offline and online.

On 28 February 2024 the European Parliament gave its final approval by a large majority to the new regulation on geographical indications (GIs) of the European Union (EU) for wines, spirits and agricultural products as well as for traditional specialities guaranteed.IGP e DOP più protette anche online

The final text amends EU Regulations 1308/2013, 2019/787 and 2019/1753 and repeals EU Regulation 1151/2021.

Italian Euro MP Paolo De Castro, rapporteur of the draft regulation, described it during the press conference on the final approval as “the first single text on quality in the EU” and a booster for the EU food scene in terms of new opportunities for development and employment. As the EU state with the highest number of registered GIs, Italy stands to benefit the most from the changes.

In essence, the new regulation consolidates into a single text much of the existing EU legislation on the protection of GIs for agrifood products, wines and spirits; it also considerably improves the EU’s protection system for GIs.

The text submitted to parliament in the autumn of 2023, pursuant to an intergovernmental agreement, already spelled good news for the quality agrifood sector as it included the following improvements:

  • streamlined and quicker registration procedures for GIs
  • stronger protection for GIs also online, notably against the use of protected terms as domain names
  • greater power and responsibilities for recognised producer associations;
  • enhanced visibility for sustainable practices in agrifood and wine production;
  • protection for GIs employed as ingredients in packaged food products, with mandatory notification if the ingredient is named on the label or marketing material.

The European Parliament has now amended the text in order to further strengthen protection for GIs, as summarised below.

Stronger enforcement offline and online

National authorities of EU member states must put in place administrative and judicial measures to prevent or stop illegal use of GIs both offline and online. Domain names using GIs illegally must be shut down or access to them must be disabled via geo-blocking. A domain name alert system is to be set up by the EUIPO (European Union Intellectual Property Office).

Protection of GIs as ingredients in processed products

A GI designating a product that is used as an ingredient in a processed product may be used in the name, labelling or advertising of the processed product upon condition that the GI ingredient is used in sufficient quantity to confer an essential characteristic to the processed product, and that no other comparable product is used. The percentage of the ingredient shall be shown in the label; a recognised producer group for the GI ingredient must be notified in advance and may issue recommendation for the correct use of the GI.

Protection for GI’s image and value

Swifter procedures will be introduced for GI producers to prevent or counter commercial practices jeopardising the image and value of their products; it will be mandatory to show the producer’s name alongside the GI on packaging.

Quicker GI registration, Commission in charge

A new six-month deadline is introduced for the examination of applications to register a GI; the European Commission will remain in charge of the EU’s GI protection system.

Entry into force

The new regulation should be published in the Official Journal of the EU in April 2024 and will enter into force 20 days after publication, save for a few provisions (including the ones concerning the procedure to oppose the registration of a GI) that will enter into force on 1 January 2025.

Further information

Questions on protecting agrifood products in the European Union? Contact us, we are happy to help.


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