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Tuesday, 21 November 2006


This little PGI went ex-directory

The IPKat thanks his friend and IP scholar Trevor Cook (Bird & Bird) for drawing to his attention the following announcement in the European Commission's Official Journal 18.11.2006, C 280/13:

Publication, pursuant to Article 12(2) of Council Regulation 510/2006 on the protection of geographical indications and designations of origin for agricultural products and foodstuffs, concerning a cancellation application (2006/C 280/06)

This publication confers the right to object to the cancellation application pursuant to Article 7 of Council Regulation 510/2006. Statements of objections must reach the Commission within six months from the date of this publication.


Cancellation request according to Article 12(2) and Article 17(2)


3. Type of product
Class 2.1— Beer

4. Person or body making request for cancellation
Name: Scottish and Newcastle Plc

Nature of legitimate interest in making the request:
The request for cancellation is made by the same applicant group that introduced the demand for registration.

5. Reasons for Cancellation
Production at the site in the Newcastle-upon-Tyne city given in the registered PGI specification for ‘Newcastle Brown Ale’ is no longer commercially viable. The site of the brewery in the city centre of Newcastle-upon-Tyne presents operational difficulties. These factors have led Scottish & Newcastle Plc to take the decision to close the Newcastle brewery and to move to another site in the north east of England. Therefore the specification is not any longer respected in relation to the delimited geographical area of the PGI that is the city of Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

‘Newcastle Brown Ale’ being a registered trade mark was registered as Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) in the Community register, at the initiative of a single producer, on condition that this producer may not prevent other producers in the defined geographical area who produce in accordance with the registered specification from using the PGI. The PGI specification included ingredients (the strain of yeast, the particular blend of water and salt) which are held secret to Scottish & Newcastle Plc and no other producer was therefore entitled to use the protected name without consent from Scottish & Newcastle Plc to use these ingredients. However, Scottish & Newcastle Plc has made clear that there would be no circumstances in which it would be willing to make public details of the ingredients nor to give consent to any other producer to use them. For these reasons, the conditions laid down in Regulation 510/06 concerning the usage of the PGI ‘Newcastle Brown Ale’ cannot be met. Therefore the PGI status should now be cancelled.

This notice, says the IPKat, highlights the dangers of allowing PGI status for indications that are derived from a single manufacturing source. It also neatly highlights the different roles played by PGIs on the one hand and trade marks on the other. Merpel adds, it's curious that the fate of this PGI depended upon the preservation of a trade secret: the rules that protect names and denominations don't have too many points of intersection with issues of trade secrecy.

More on Newcastle Brown here and here
Geordie dictionary here ("bottle of dog" = Newcastle Brown ale)
Fog on the Tyne here

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

So, if I understand correctly, submissions can be made as to why the PDO should not be cancelled. If successful, that either means an end to Newky Brown or production must be continued on the Tyne. I wonder if the Geordies are being mobilised to submit objections. Like the IPKat, I do think it somewhat strange that a registration is dependent on some "secret" ingredients (which are probably no more than the combination of minerals found in the local water).


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