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Geographical indications

A geographical indication (GI) is a distinctive sign used to identify a product whose quality, reputation or other such characteristics relate to its geographical origin.

Trade topics
  • Geographical Indications
  • Intellectual property

GI status gives consumers a guarantee of authenticity, quality and distinctiveness linked to origin, while protecting producers ('GI users') from competitors trying to exploit their reputation and know-how developed to produce genuine high-quality products.

EU trade policy and geographical indications

Adequate protection and enforcement of geographical indications (GIs) at international level is of key interest in the EU's trade agenda. The EU is active at multilateral and bilateral level to improve the protection of geographical indications and to enhance intellectual property (IP) enforcement frameworks to prevent usurpations and misuse of EU GIs worldwide.

EU agricultural product quality: policy

Geographical indications for non-agricultural products: policy within the EU

At multilateral level

The WTO’s 1994 agreement on intellectual property contains a section on geographical indications. It enhances their protection and extends it to more countries than previous international agreements.

The EU is one of the main supporters of negotiations on geographical indications in the WTO’s Doha Development Agenda.

Negotiations have included establishing an international register for geographical indications and the extending the protection currently granted to wines and spirits to all products.

At bilateral level

The EU negotiates GI protection under trade agreements (FTAs) or specific 'standalone' agreements on geographical indications.

Bilateral agreements include ambitious outcomes on GIs that significantly improve GI protection in the territory of the trade partner at a level comparable to that of the EU. In addition, enforcement is enhanced by the opportunity to uphold GI rights via administrative enforcement, including measures at the border, on top of judicial action. Besides rules and principles, the agreements include lists of GIs to be protected under the FTAs.

In the EU, two civil dialogue groups advise the EU's agriculture department on geographical indications in international trade:

More on geographical indications

Geographical indications for:

World Trade Organization and Geographical Indications

Geographical Indications Gateway - Information on GI laws, treaties, committees, and symposiums

World Intellectual Property Organization Lex - Search for national laws on intellectual property rights, including GIs

Latest news

  • News article

The European Commission published today its biennial Report on the Protection and Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) in third countries. The Third Country Report identifies so-called ‘priority countries’ where the state of IPR protection and enforcement is a source of major concern.

  • 2 min read
  • News article

The Commission’s third Counterfeit and Piracy Watch List, published today, names websites and physical marketplaces outside the EU that are reported to engage in, facilitate or benefit from counterfeiting and piracy.

  • 2 min read