The UK left the EU on 31 January, but it’s continuing to follow the bloc’s rules until the end of the year. These extra 11 months of transition were designed to give both sides some time to negotiate a post-Brexit deal.
As post-Brexit negotiations enter a crucial phase, please find below a summary of the main issues concerned groups should take into account:
If no final agreement between the UK and the EU is reached, the Agreement on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community will regulate, among others, GIs issues. In particular, article 54.2. of the Withdrawal Agreement provides for the continued protection of registered EU GIs in the United Kingdom and of UK GIs in the EU (no re-examination needed). A unilateral denunciation of the Withdrawal Agreement cannot be completely excluded, but it seems extremely unlikely.
- If, in the period of uncertainty that preceded the Withdrawal Agreement, a GI group had registered a certification mark in the UK, it should check the new trademark system which will be in place in the UK as of January 2021. In particular, whether it will reproduce the rule of the EU certification mark scheme which prevents it from covering GIs. To keep updated on this, you can follow the updates on the following link https://www.gov.uk/government/news/intellectual-property-after-1-january-2021#refGeographical-Indications
- The characteristics of the new UK GI scheme can be found at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/protecting-food-and-drink-names-from-1-january-2021 – The most relevant points are the following:
- It will cover agricultural products, spirits, wines and aromatized wines;
- It will provide for both Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) and Protected Geographical Indication (PGI);
- It will be open to third countries GIs;
- It will provide GI logos (which, like in the EU, will be optional for producers of wines and spirits). Producers or retailers of food and agricultural GIs produced and for sale in the UK, and registered before 1 January 2021, will have until 1 January 2024 to change packaging and marketing materials to display the new UK GI logos. UK GIs that are protected in the EU can continue to use the EU logo in the UK, in addition to the UK logo, after the transition period.
On GIs issues in the context of Brexit, please check the dedicated page of our website at https://www.origin-gi.com/activities/policy-and-advocacy/item/14921-brexit.html