What is a geographical indication which can be protected?

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A geographical indication which can be protected is:

  • the name of or a reference to a geographical area which indicates the specific geographical origin of a good or a service if the given quality, reputation or other characteristic of the good or service so identified is essentially attributable to the geographical area where the good is produced, processed or prepared or where the service is rendered;

  • another word, phrase or symbol that, resulting from long-term and consistent use, has become essentially attributable to the geographical area where the good is produced, processed or prepared or where the service is rendered.

The term protectable geographical indication thus means a sign which shows that the good or service originates from a particular geographical area and an essential quality-related connection exists between the good or service and the place where it is produced or rendered.

The geographical area within the meaning of the Geographical Indication Protection Act is the territory of a state or its particular area or place. The geographical area does not have to coincide with an administrative unit or settlement unit bearing the same name. The geographical indication does not have to be the current official name of this geographical area.

A geographical indication may be in figurative or word form. It is important that the indication is associated with the geographical area which is the place of origin of the good or service. A geographical indication may thus be the name of the geographical area in the authentic form (e.g. Cognac) or modified form (e.g. šampus) or it may be used as an attribute (e.g. Dutch cheese).

A geographical indication may also be the historical name of a geographical area (e.g. Reval, Arensburg) used in the authentic or modified form or as an attribute, but also a symbol referring to or associated with a particular geographical area (e.g. the Tower of Eiffel, Old Thomas, in case of Italy the cartographic outline of the country).

When Estonia acceded to the European Union a change entered into force pursuant to which national law does not regulate any more the protection of geographical indications of agricultural products, food products and alcoholic beverages, which are protected on the European Union level. Council Regulation No 510/2006 regulates legal protection of geographical indications in the European Union. Besides that, Regulation No 110/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council regulates the protection of geographical indications of spirit drinks and Council Regulation No 479/2008 regulates the protection of geographical indications of wines.

Last modified 22.02.2017