Lambrusco: Protecting and enforcing a GI for wine products

Like most unique food and wine products whose quality and reputation are strictly linked to their geographical origin, Lambrusco, maybe the most famous sparkling red wine in the world, is protected at European Union level by several geographical indications.

Geographical indications (GIs) are valuable intangible assets and their protection and enforcement constitute a crucial step to retain the related competitive advantage.

This case study, based on the direct experience of the Consorzio Tutela del Lambrusco di Modena, demonstrates how GIs can be successfully enforced in the European Union against conflicting trade mark applications.

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The value of geographical indications for businesses

Some product names have more things to say about themselves than others. They can reflect and evoke qualities and reputation strictly linked to their geographical origin.

Such a special “link” between the quality or reputation of a product and its geographical origin might have a considerable market value and its protection constitutes an important step for producers to gain the related competitive advantage.

Read our brand new fact sheet introducing geographical indications as an invaluable tool to help companies differentiate themselves in the market.

 

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European IPR Helpdesk Bulletin Issue (31)

This Bulletin issue is dedicated to IP and agribusiness, focusing on topics under current debate.

Jean-Luc Gal introduces this issue with the Notice issued by the European Commission on the Biotech Directive and the subsequent developments. The European Seed Association (ESA) explains the interface between patents and plant variety rights (PVR) which led to the creation of the PINTO database.

The CPVO provides an overview on the administrative arrangement for a bilateral cooperation between the EPO and the CPVO, while EPO speaks about patentable inventions relating to plants and animals. Juan Antonio Vives-Vallés, Assistant Lecturer at the University of the Balearic Islands, focuses on the balance between IP systems and the future of crop innovation in Europe in the light of  the new breeding techniques.

In this issue 4iPCouncil has interviewed the CEO of Vitirover, an SME that has used IP to protect its sustainable and efficient invention in the field of agribusiness. Philipp von Kapff and the CPVO have contributed a joint article on the interface between trade marks and variety denominations, and Massimo Vittori, Managing Director of oriGIn, writes about geographical indications and sustainability.

In addition, Marco Musumeci, from the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI), focuses on counterfeiting and food frauds, while Philippe de Jong and Elena Bertolotto, from the Altius law firm, explain to us the first compulsory licence case before the CPVO, posing the question on how to strike the balance between PVR and the public interest.

Finally, the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV)  presents to us their new electronic application system, UPOV PRISMA, and the International Seed Federation provides us with their position paper on illegal seed practices.

As per usual, the Bulletin reports information about the European IPR Helpdesk’s past and future events together with the latest updates from our Helpline service, as well as a brand-new agribusiness quiz and our usual patent quiz.

ECTA statement regarding BREXIT negotiations with regards to IPRs

The European Communities Trade Mark Association (ECTA) has recently released a statement regarding the negotiations concerning the exit of the United Kingdom with regard to intellectual property rights, particularly geographical indications, trade marks and designs. 

In its statement ECTA draws the attention of the European Commission Task Force for the Preparation and Conduct of the Negotiations with the United Kingdom under Article 50 TEU on several points, in particular, the continued protection of Geographical Indications and similar rights in the UK, and how EU Trade Marks and Registered Community Designs (RCDs) should continue to be protected in the UK post-Brexit.

Find out more here

IP enforcement: asserting your rights

Intellectual property (IP) can be protected by, among others, IP rights or titles, such as trade marks or patents. Such titles are usually thought to confer negative rights, which means the right to exclude others from using or commercialising, for example, an invention protected under a patent.

This process of not allowing others to use or commercialise protected IP is known as enforcement of rights, which can be done through civil, administrative and penal measures aimed at preventing the unauthorised use of intellectual property, sanctioning such use and providing remedies to right holders for the damage caused by such unauthorised use.

This Fact Sheet illustrates the importance of IP enforcement for businesses and research organisations while providing an overview of the main enforcement actions, together with the latest developments and initiatives of the European Commission in the field.

IP in Education — Education Council adopts conclusions on the future of European education

The Education Council, composed of the education ministers of the European Union, has recently adopted conclusions on moving towards a vision of a European education area as well as recommendations on lifelong learning. 

This far-reaching EU document, which sets out the roadmap for all Member States in its design of educational programmes, acknowledges the work of the IP in Education network managed by the EUIPO and recognises the efforts made by the Observatory's stakeholders and the work the Task Force. 

For further information, click here

New report on trade in counterfeit goods and free trade zones by EUIPO and OECD

The European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) have published a new report on "Trade in counterfeit goods and free trade zones".

This research complements a 2016 study from EUIPO and the OECD which estimated the value of counterfeit products to be 2.5% of world trade – up to EUR 338 billion. 

There are over 3,500 free trade zones in the world. Free trade zones are special economic areas which are often, but not always, set up around ports. Taken together, free trade zones employ 66 million people and generate over EUR 365 billion (USD 500 billion) in direct trade-related added value.

An extra free trade zone within an economy increases the value of counterfeit goods exported from that country by 5.9%.

The full study in English and the Executive Summaries in the 23 language versions can be found here on EUIPO's Observatory on Infringements of Intellectual Property Rights webpage.

The European IPR Helpdesk is looking for case studies: tell us about your IP success story

Would you like your IP success story to be known by thousands of people around Europe?

What about becoming a source of inspiration to SMEs, institutions and researchers?

Tempted?

Then, tell your story as one of the European IPR Helpdesk's case studies and we will spread your success all around Europe!

Case studies are part of the range of publications developed by the European IPR Helpdesk in order to increase awareness of IP. Case studies contain concrete examples on how SMEs, institutions or academics use IP to achieve business success.

The European IPR Helpdesk disseminates case studies free of charge to an audience of more than 13,000 people through its website and through its newsletters, with around 8,000 subscribers.

Check our library if you would like to find out more about our case studies and contact the European IPR Helpdesk's IP advisors, Alejandra Aluja (alejandra.aluja@iprhelpdesk.eu) and Paula Barnola (paula.barnola@iprhelpdesk.eu), if you would like your case study published by the European IPR Helpdesk.

We are looking forward to hearing about your success story!

Quality schemes help EU producers break new markets

The promotion of geographical indications (GI) has helped EU products attract new emerging markets which seek quality food. However, Europol warns that fake GI products are on the rise across the EU and policymakers should not disregard the protection of intellectual property rights.

In a very interesting article, which you can access here, Euractiv explains how EU quality schemes support EU producers and reveals the most relevant threats to them in terms of counterfeiting of GI products.