EU protection of geographical indications

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade must receive feedback by 13 November 2019

Australia and European Free Trade Agreement

In June 2018 the Australian Government launched negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the European Union (EU). 

From the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT),

“Consistent with its approach toward other FTA partners, the EU has identified the protection of geographical indications (GIs) as one of its key objectives in the negotiations.

A GI is essentially a name used on a product that has a specific geographical origin, and possesses qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin. 'Champagne' is a well-known example of a GI. Once a GI is protected, the name may not be used except by producers who meet the rules protecting the GI.”

What GI names are the EU seeking to protect?

The EU has asked Australia to protect 236 spirit names and 172 agricultural and other foodstuff names as GIs in Australia. The names relate to a range of sectors including, dairy, meat, smallgoods, horticulture, confectionery, oils, beer and spirits.

View the list of the EU's requested GI names

If this impacts your business

You should make an objection if you think protection of a specific EU GI name will adversely affect your interests. DFAT have already begun engagement with industry groups, however the feedback from Tasmania's specialist food and beverage producers will help them understand the regional impact of protected geographical indications.

Grounds for objections include:

  • the name is used in Australia as the common name for the relevant good;
  • the name is used in Australia as the name of a plant variety or an animal breed;
  • the name is identical to, or likely to cause confusion with, a trade mark or GI that is registered or the subject of a pending application in Australia;
  • the name is identical to, or likely to cause confusion with, an unregistered trade mark or GI that has acquired rights through use in Australia.

Objections must be made in writing and submitted to DFAT.

How to make objections and other useful information can be found on the DFAT website