What are geographical indications?
Geographical indications establish protection for intellectual property rights concerning specific products, whose essential qualities are intricately tied to the production area.
Product names qualify for a 'geographical indication' (GI) when they exhibit a distinct connection to the place of origin, whether rooted in quality, reputation, or characteristic traits. This link must be essentially attributable to the geographical origin, and a prerequisite for GI is the completion of at least one production step in that specific area. The GI recognition enables consumers to trust and distinguish quality products while also helping producers to market their products better.
The EU has had specific GI protection for wines, spirit drinks and other agricultural products and foodstuffs for decades. Champagne or Prosciutto di Parma (ham) are well-known examples of agricultural GIs, a framework already in place since 1992.
From 1 December 2025, craft and industrial (CI) goods will also fully benefit from EU-wide GI protection. 16 November 2023 marked a major milestone with the entry into force of the new Regulation (EU) 2023/2411 on the protection of geographical indications for craft and industrial products.
The new craft and industrial GI protection system in the EU
The new Regulation (EU) 2023/2411 establishes a unified EU title for the protection of craft and industrial product names across all EU countries. This title is granted to products originating from specific places or regions, possessing qualities, reputation, or characteristics essentially linked to their geographical origin, and involving at least one production step in that area.
Producers of craft and industrial products will have the ability to prohibit the use of these names for similar products produced outside the designated geographical areas. Additionally, the new EU title will also enable EU producers to seek international protection for EU producers seeking to safeguard their geographical indications. Producers from non-EU countries can also pursue protection under this new EU scheme for their renowned craft and industrial products that comply with EU requirements.
Examination and registration of the craft and industrial product geographical indication will occur in 2 phases, first at national level, and then at Union level. Unlike the geographical indication system protecting agricultural products, the entity in charge of the examination and registration at EU level will be the EU Intellectual property Office (EUIPO).
The Commission retains the authority to decide on the approval of a geographical indication application in specific cases. Throughout the examination phase, an opposition procedure will be in place.
Once registered at national level, public authorities are mandated to conduct market controls and checks. Producers can self-declare their compliance with the product specifications and will be strongly supported by regional authorities, which may, in exceptional cases, act as geographical indication applicants.
EU member countries, the EUIPO, the Commission and stakeholders will have 2 years to prepare for the full application of the new system, foreseen on 1 December 2025. Finally, existing national craft and industrial product geographical indications will cease to exist 1 year after the date of application of the regulation, specifically in December 2026.
On 13 April 2022, the Commission adopted a proposal for a regulation on GIs for craft and industrial products to offer protection to products such as Murano glass, Donegal tweed, Porcelaine de Limoges, Solingen cutlery and Boleslawiec pottery. The proposal aimed to enable producers to protect craft and industrial products and their traditional know-how in Europe and beyond.
The goal was to make it easier for consumers to recognise the quality of such products and make more informed choices. It aimed to help to promote, attract and retain skills and jobs in Europe’s regions, contributing to their economic development. Additionally, the proposal aimed to ensure that traditional craft and industrial products are granted an equivalent status to the already established protected geographical indications in the agricultural sector.
The Commission's proposal was the result of an extensive consultation process with an inception impact assessment published in November 2020, followed by a public consultation between April and July 2021, as well as targeted consultations with EU countries and relevant stakeholder organisations.
- Proposal for a regulation on Geographical Indications for craft and industrial products - documents
- Inception Impact Assessment of an EU-wide system for protecting the geographical indications of non-agricultural products
- Summary of the feedback to the Inception Impact Assessment of an EU-wide system for protecting the geographical indications of non-agricultural products
More information on geographical indications
Geographical indications for craft and industrial products
- Regulation on geographical indication protection for craft and industrial products
- Council decision amending Decision (EU) 2019/1754 on the accession of the European Union to the Geneva Act of the Lisbon Agreement on Appellations of Origin and Geographical Indications
Geographical indications in other DGs
- Geographical indications and traditional specialties (products other than wines) from DG Agriculture and Rural Development
- Geographical indications for wine from DG Agriculture and Rural Development
- EU trade policy and geographical indications from DG Trade