For the past three years, AREPO has contributed to the implementation of the Interreg Sudoe AGROSMARTglobal project, which aims to strengthen the “Competitiveness, promotion and internationalisation of agri-food cooperatives and SMEs from rural areas of Sudoe in the digital market” (Sudoe = South-West Europe, including Spain, Portugal and the French regions of Nouvelle-Aquitaine and Occitanie). The project will end on 31 March 2023.
One of AREPO’s missions, in collaboration with the Universidade de Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro – UTAD, was to provide tools to producer groups and agri-food cooperatives in the Sudoe in order to strengthen the promotion and protection of their products benefiting from European quality schemes (PDO, PGI, TSG and organic farming) on the international digital market.
UTAD was responsible for activities aimed at strengthening the promotion of products benefiting from European quality systems on the Internet, and AREPO was responsible for activities aimed at strengthening the protection of Geographical Indications (GIs) on the Internet.
AREPO has noted the lack of clear and concrete information on the existing means of protecting GIs on the Internet and has therefore decided to draw up a practical guide with the aim of providing operational tools for the holders and legitimate users of geographical indications, in other words, GI producer groups and their members.
GIs, and more particularly PDOs and PGIs, occupy an important place in terms of exports for the countries of the European Union and are particularly affected by counterfeiting and cybersquatting because of their reputation and attractiveness, which are attracting growing interest from third parties.
Therefore, professionals who are legitimate holders of geographical indications must develop a complete, prudent and exhaustive defence strategy, in order to take advantage of the undeniable benefits of an Internet presence, while minimising the risks of infringements, which are often complex to contain.
This guide thus aims to provide deciphered and clarified information on how the Internet works in terms of intellectual property law and to present the concrete steps to be taken to effectively protect one’s GI from an infringement on the Internet.
To carry out its work, AREPO called on experts and practitioners in intellectual property, specialised in French, Spanish and Portuguese regulations, i.e. the three countries covered by the project (Sudoe area).
The guide focuses more particularly on the procedures applicable to France, with some insights into the specific cases of Spain and Portugal. It is nevertheless relevant to all producer groups in the EU, given the similarities in the approaches and procedures of European countries in this area.
In order to identify more precisely the issues and needs of the organisations concerned and to draw up the most relevant guide possible, AREPO also collected information from producer groups and agri-food cooperatives in the EU by means of a survey developed for this purpose. Almost 90 producer groups participated in the survey.
If AREPO members show a particular interest in this guide, AREPO undertakes to update it regularly according to the regulations in force and to enrich it with procedures applicable to other AREPO member countries. We therefore invite any organisation that has not yet participated in the survey to contribute to it so that we can deepen our data.V
You can get the survey in Word format by contacting Anne CLERMONTELLE at the following email address: email@example.com or complete it online at the following link. The survey is available in five languages: English, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Italian.
AREPO is of course open to any constructive criticism that could help improve this first draft of the guide.
The guide is available in four languages: English, French, Spanish and Portuguese, which you can find in .pdf format below.
The guide will be officially presented at our 5th “European event on quality and origin products“, which will take place on March 30th, 2023 in Brussels. To find out more about the event, go here!
If you have any questions or comments, please contact Anne CLERMONTELLE, consultant for AREPO specialised in agri-food strategies and in charge of the elaboration of the guide and the survey, at the following email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
This guide was developed within the framework of the European project AGROSMARTglobal, co-financed at 75% by the Interreg Sudoe programme 2014-2020 under Priority Axis 2: Stimulating the competitiveness and internationalisation of SMEs in South-West Europe.
Disclaimer: “The European Commission’s support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the content, which is the sole responsibility of the author, and the Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information contained therein.”.