The long-awaited new EU legislation on geographical indications represents a major step forward in providing protection for craft and industrial products similar to Agri-Food products. An experts working group led and managed by WCCE and FFIGIA has been established to represent the voice of the craft and industrial sector and to cooperate with EU officials on the challenges and needs of these sectors.

 

Brussels, April 11th, 2024. The European crafts and industrial sectors represented by various stakeholders and the recently created ‘Craft & Industrial Geographical Indications Expert Working Group’ held several meetings with the institutions in charge of accompanying the implementation of the Regulation (EU) 2023/2411 on the protection of geographical indications for craft and industrial products.

Craft and industrial products in Europe are subject to varying levels of intellectual property protection, depending on their country of origin. In many member states there is no specific law providing protection to non-agricultural products which are subject to unfair competition or consumer deception laws, often combined with trademarks to provide a degree of intellectual property protection. Key sectors in the economy in Europe face significant challenges with the loss of intellectual property through counterfeiting and copying which is undermining the core values of iconic European craft brands and causing the gradual extinction of local skills.

The new legislation approved by the European Parliament and the Council was introduced to address the lack of legal protection for Craft and Industrial Geographical Indications (CIGIs) and provide a standard framework for member states. Uniform protection throughout the Union will create incentives for the production of quality products; contribute to the fight against counterfeiting; ensure the wide availability of quality products for consumers and contribute to the creation of valuable and sustainable jobs, including in rural and less-developed regions, which would help counter depopulation trends, as well as enhance the international reputation of European craft and industrial products in export markets.

In January 2024 a group of stakeholder organisations from the crafts and industrial sectors came together to share views about the methodology and approach to be used in different member states regarding the soon to be implemented new GI regulations. The creation of a specialised working group representing key stakeholders led and managed by the World Crafts Council Europe (WCCE) and the Fédération Française des Indications Géographiques Industrielles et Artisanales (FFIGIA) will facilitate communication and interaction between different craft and industrial bodies across Europe and provide a valuable communication platform for interaction with key EU legislative bodies involved in the implementation of the new regulation.

This week the group participated in a meeting at the European Parliament in Brussels organised by Marion Walsmann, MEP rapporteur on CIGIs. The group also had the chance to meet João Negrão, Executive Director of the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) and its team at EUIPO’s liasion office in Brussels. The EUIPO will soon be in charge of managing the registration and protection of CIGIs. A later meeting with the Directorate General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (DG Grow) representatives was also organised.

A fruitful exchange of ideas and visions took place with EU officials: access to SME funds, procedure on GI registration, EUIPO GI’s department, DG Grow competencies, GI protection, EUIPO transparency and collaboration with CIGIs value chains, international negotiations.

The working group offered its support and invited EUIPO and DG Grow officials to field visits. Before the meeting they had already had the opportunity to visit the quarry and training centre of Pierres Bleues Belges.

The building of the CIGIs system will rely on a transparent and close collaboration between the private and public sectors. The CIGIs Expert Working group is willing to be a major key player of this strong and crucial scheme for our products and territories.

 

About

The Craft & Industrial Geographical Indications Expert Working Group was established in January 2024 and is coordinated by the World Crafts Council Europe (WCCE) and the Fédération Française des Indications Géographiques Industrielles et Artisanales (FFIGIA). The working group is chaired by the 2 countries with experience in implementing GI protection systems for CI products i.e., Portugal (Cristina Mendes, CEARTE) and France (Fabrice Descombes, FFIGIA).

 

The group is joined as well by: Pierres et Marbres de Wallonie, Italian Confederation of Craft Trades and Small- and Medium-Sized Enterprises (CNA), Donegal Tweet Association, Centro per l’Artigianato Artistico e Tradizionale della Toscana (ARTEX) and Centro de Formação Profissional para o Artesanato e Património (CEARTE). 

 

The main objectives of the expert working group are to: (i) Reflect the views, opinions and concerns of European craft & Industrial bodies and key stakeholders’ organisations on the implementation of new EU Regulation on geographical indication protection for craft and industrial products; (ii) Share experiences in different member states on the implementation of the CI GIs scheme (National legal framework, mentoring of GI projects, legal protection, control procedures, promotion etc.); (iii) Gather information about the implementation  status at country level; (iv) Share the information with EU officials, EUIPO and implementing entities around Europe; (v) Champion the new CIGI legislation and represent the views of practitioners and stakeholders in the area.

 

Contact

a.aubard@ffigia.fr
secretariat@wcc-europe.org 

 

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