EU Regulation on geographical indication protection for craft and industrial products: Italy takes first step


The EU Regulation on geographical indication (GI) protection for craft and industrial products was approved by the Council on 9 October 2023 (IPKat here), entered into force on 16 November 2023 and will be fully applicable from 1 December 2025. Its purpose is to assist producers in preserving the heritage of locally sourced craft and industrial products, allowing them to compete in specific niche markets while maintaining their local knowledge and culture.

Application process for EU protection of GIs for industrial and craft products

The Regulation provides for a two-step application process for registration (Art. 7 of the Regulation). Each Member State shall designate a competent authority for the national phase of the procedure (Art. 12 of the Regulation). The applicants shall submit their applications for geographical indications (GIs) to the relevant authorities in their respective EU Member State for the examination procedure (Artt. 13-16 of the Regulation). The competent authorities shall then forward the successful applications to the EUIPO for the second step (approval and evaluation). If a Member State does not have a national system for GIs, the applicant can request an exemption from the above-mentioned standard procedure. If the Commission agrees, the applicant can file the request directly through the EUIPO via a direct registration procedure (Artt. 19-20 of the Regulation).

As regards the application for registration of the GI, it has to be accompanied by the product specification (disciplinary) identifying the name to be protected, the reference product and how it is to be made, including the raw materials to be used and the processes to be followed (Art. 9 of the Regulation).


What is new in Italy

On 11 January 2024, Italian Law No. 206 of 27 December 2023 entered into force. It contains specific provisions aimed at aligning the protection of Italian artisanal and industrial products in view of the incoming application of the EU Regulation.

The Italian regulatory intervention has thus introduced the national phase, including the filing of the product specification, thus guaranteeing as of now protection for Italian artisanal and industrial products in view of the incoming application of the EU Regulation. 

Pursuant to Article 42  (Recognition of typical industrial and craft products) of the Law, Italy: recognises the value of typical craft and industrial products traditionally linked to local production methods rooted within a specific geographical area, promotes their protection as significant elements of the overall national cultural heritage; ensures that consumers have reliable information on typical craft and industrial production; supports craftsmen and producers in preserving production traditions and reputations linked to their places of origin.

In view of the definition of a uniform protection system at European level for GIs in craft and industrial products, the Italian Regions are given the possibility to provide an official recognition for typical craft and industrial productions already subject to forms of recognition or protection or for which the reputation and quality are strongly linked to the local territory. The results have to be transmitted to the Ministry of Enterprise and Made in Italy (MIMIT), in order to define, with a specific decree, a uniformly valid and applicable protection regime for the recognition and protection, at national level, of these typical products.

To enhance the value of typical handicraft and industrial products and favour their protection processes, Article 43 of the Law allows associations of produces, operating in a certain geographical area, to adopt a production specifications (disciplinary) and to submit to the competent Region a declaration of expression of interest for the purpose of the recognition of typical handicraft and industrial products referred to in Article 42.

The production specifications (disciplinary) for typical industrial and handicraft products, containing the minimum elements set out in Article 45, must be filed by the producer associations with the chambers of commerce, industry, handicrafts and agriculture of the relevant territory. In addition, the processing steps of products shall be certified through blockchain (Art. 47).


Until recently, GIs for industrial and craft products were left to the discretion of the Member States. As a result, divergent standards and mechanisms of protection emerged across the UE. While some Member States, such as France, established an ad hoc system of protection for craft and industry products, manufacturers in other Member States had to resort to alternative mechanisms of protection, including unfair competition law, or registration of collective trademarks. All this has implied a certain difficulty, especially for SMEs, in fighting GIs’ infringement, misuse and reputation. It is expected that things will change with the Regulation. Some doubts, however, are likely to remain with regard to protection of GIs and related products in the on-line commerce, both in the UE and in third countries, against aggressive imitations and parasitic evocations, whose purpose is mainly to mislead consumers on the real geographical and entrepreneurial origin of their products.


Photo courtesy of Antonio D’Agostino

EU Regulation on geographical indication protection for craft and industrial products: Italy takes first step EU Regulation on geographical indication protection for craft and industrial products: Italy takes first step Reviewed by Anna Maria Stein on Friday, January 19, 2024 Rating: 5

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