23 October 2020TrademarksMuireann Bolger

UK government unveils post-Brexit GIs

The UK government yesterday announced a new set of rules and logos to protect British producers of food and drink from IP infringement, and to guarantee the authenticity of traditional brands for consumers.

According to the statement, the new and independent Geographical Indications (GI) schemes will replace the EU’s schemes on January 1 2021 as the Brexit transition period ends.

From 2021 onwards, British traditional produce will get a new status to mark out its authenticity and origin, for example, Scotch whisky, Welsh lamb and Cornish clotted cream.

There are three new UK GI logos, which will each mark designation of geographical indication, including protected designation of origin (PDO) protected geographical indication (PGI) and traditional speciality guaranteed (TSG).

Registered producers of British food, drink and agricultural GI products that are required to use the logos will have until January 1 2024 to change packaging to display the new UK GI logos. This timeframe, said the statement, will enable producers to introduce the logos to their products in good time.

According to government figures, GIs represent around a quarter of UK food and drink exports by value, approaching £6bn in export value in 2019.

The UK Environment Secretary George Eustice said: “The new UK protected food name scheme will replace the old EU one and will ensure that we continue to recognise and celebrate protected food names and local recipes across our country.”

He added: “The new logos launched today will become a staple on supermarket aisles in the UK and mean shoppers will be able to pick the best of British, from Scotch whisky and Welsh lamb to Cornish clotted cream.”

According to the statement, legislation laid in parliament yesterday will: provide the legal framework in England, Scotland and Wales to administer and enforce the GI schemes;

ensure continued protection of existing UK-origin GIs and non-UK GIs agreed through trade agreements; establish the new UK logo in law and ensure EU GI logos are no longer required on GB products; and simplify the application process.

UK government Minister for Scotland David Duguid said: “Scotland benefits from many GIs, from Arbroath Smokies, Stornoway black pudding and, of course, Scotch whisky. Our famous food and drink is highly sought after around the globe. We have been clear we will be protecting food standards and these new logos will guarantee authenticity for consumers who will know they are buying first class produce.”

The UK government has been attempting to expand and increase the number of GI protections through free trade agreements. The UK-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement will increase GIs from just seven under the terms of the EU-Japan deal to potentially over 70 under this new agreement, according to the government.

The EU has yet to confirm whether the new UK GIs will be recognised throughout the remaining 27 member states from January 1 2021 onwards.

Guidance is available on GOV.UK including for the process relating to the new UK GI application.

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