Posted today on the website of the European Union's online Official Journal is a most rare and unusual document -- Commission Decision of 19 April 2010 rejecting a list of applications for entry in the register of protected designations of origin and protected geographical indications provided for in Council Regulation (EC) No 510/2006. The recitals to the Decision tell the story, and what a sorry tale it is. In short:
* In 1994 Germany notified to the Commission a large number of applications for registration concerning mineral waters pursuant to Article 17(2) of Council Regulation 2081/92 [the original Regulation on the protection of geographical indications and designations of origin, subsequently repealed and re-enacted in codified form, together with various amendments, as Council Regulation 510/2006], 108 of which are still pending.
* 31 of those names were not included in the list of natural mineral waters recognized by Member States as marketable mineral waters under Directive 2009/54 on the exploitation and marketing of natural mineral waters. Since waters the names of which are not on the list can't be marketed, their names can't be protected as GIs.
* A further seven names were listed without any other information, so the Commission couldn't check them out to see if they were entitled to GI protection.
* Regarding another 70 mineral water names, the Commission asked the Germans back in 2004, and again in 2006 and 2007, either to provide additional information, in particular on "details of control bodies, willingness of producers to cover inspection costs and structures guaranteeing the marketing of the water under a single name" or to withdraw the applications. No reply was received.The Council Decision contains three Annexes, listing the names in question. They include such tantalising titles as Bad Kissinger Theresienquelle, Kondrauer Mineralsprudel Heilwasser Prinz-Ludwig-Quelle and Kondrauer Mineral-Sprudel Gerwig-Quelle.