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Can UK products enjoy EU geographical indications (GI) status after Brexit?

In a paper dated 6 September 2017, the European Commission (EC) stated that if IP rights – such as those for Protected Designation of Origin (PDO), Protected Geographical Indication (PGI), and Traditional Specialities Guaranteed (TSG) – were granted before Brexit, they should be enforceable in the EU and the UK afterwards. But to ensure recognition of these rights, the UK must put this legislation in place before the withdrawal date, and there is currently no UK legislation on PDO, PGI and TSG labels.

An official agreement regarding such marks has still to be reached. We also don’t know if applications made during the March 2019 and December 2020 transition will be protected.

The EC paper states that where applications have been submitted to an EU body before the withdrawal date and if the administrative procedure is ongoing on that date, applicants should be entitled to keep the benefit of any priority date in respect of such applications.

Marks from third countries can get EU protection, subject to agreement. If negotiations on this succeed and equivalent UK legislation is set up, there will be no need to reapply from scratch.

Companies should have applied under current EU law before Brexit to have the best chance of securing such labels.

The Government has pledged to set up UK GI schemes and logos, compliant with World Trade Organisation rules, after Brexit. The 86 current EU GI holders would be included.

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