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Buying British?

CITMA Publishes Logo for UK Geographical Indications.

At one time the British may have looked on curiously at the enthusiasm of continental Europeans over their marks as to geographical origin – from French cheese and champagne to German sausage and Greek olives.  But over the years the importance, and value, of such differentiation has been increasingly recognised in the UK as well, for example Cornish pasties and Scotch whisky.

So what happens now following the end of Transition Period on 31 December 2020?

The answer is that, as of 1 January 2021, the UK Government introduced its own schemes for registering food and drink products to protect their geographical name, and the Chartered Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys (CITMA) has new logos to be used to identify products protected by geographical indications (GI).

The new GI schemes are managed by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) who maintain the registers of protected product names and process new applications. The registers can be accessed via this link.

CITMA has published new UK GI logos and these are available to download.  The new logos mark each designation of GI as follows:

  • Protected Designation of Origin (PDO);
  • Protected Geographical Indication (PGI);
  • Traditional Speciality Guaranteed (TSG).

These logos can be used from 1 January 2021, meaning that the producers and retailers of food and agricultural GI products produced and for sale in the UK and registered from 1 January 2021 will need to use the new relevant UK logo on any product packaging or marketing materials as soon as that product is registered.

Significantly, the good news is that the producers and retailers of food and agricultural GI products produced and for sale in the UK and registered before 1 January 2021 have until 1 January 2024 to change packaging and marketing materials to display the new UK GI logos.

In addition, from 1 January 2021, in order to protect a new product name in Northern Ireland, producers or retailers need to register it with the EU scheme rather than the new UK GI scheme.

Defra has issued guidance for producers and retailers on how to apply to the UK scheme. If you have any questions on this issue or if you are interested in protecting any of your trade marks, please do not hesitate to get in touch with our Commercial & Technology team by emailing charlotte.burroughs