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Geographical Indications frequently asked questions

What is a GI?

A GI is a product name or term that identifies a good as originating in a territory, region, area or locality, where a given quality, reputation or other characteristic of the product is essentially attributable to its geographical origin. Examples of GIs protected in Australia include Champagne and Tequila.

Will the EU try to add new GIs?

The EU has advised it will not add to the list of GIs it has provided Australia during FTA negotiations. We anticipate that it will seek a process to apply for new GI names after the FTA has concluded, just as it has a right to do for wines under the Wine Agreement.

Will Australia be putting forward a list of Australian GIs for protection in the EU?

The decision on whether to propose a list of Australian GIs in FTA negotiations remains under consideration. (Note Australian wine GIs are already protected in the EU through our Wine Agreement with the EU.) If you are interested in having a GI protected in the EU under the FTA, please contact DFAT via a-eufta@dfat.gov.au.

My trade mark is similar to an EU GI and was registered/applied for before the EU GIs were published for public objections. Should I be concerned?

At this stage of the negotiations, the Australian Government has not agreed to protect any specific EU GI terms. Accordingly, the Government has not agreed to the relationship between EU GI terms and existing trade mark rights.

Both the 2019 public objections procedure and 2020 public consultation on a possible new GI right sought objections and views on the relationship between existing prior trade mark rights and possible new GI rights in Australia.

A number of the submissions indicated concerns regarding prior rights. The Government is raising those concerns with the EU directly and continuing to build on the information in those submissions to ensure the Government has a comprehensive understanding of the possible impact on prior trade mark rights that may be associated with the protection of specific terms.

What part of the GI name does the EU protect?

In some cases, the EU protects parts of an EU GI name in addition to the GI as a whole. It is seeking an outcome in the FTA that would allow for this.

The EU has, however, confirmed examples of where, from its point of view, protection would not extend to parts of names. Please refer to the EU GI list. Examples include 'camembert', 'brie', 'prosciutto' and 'speck'.

What do you mean by translation, transliteration, transcription?

Transliteration is when the characters in a word are transferred from one writing system to another writing system. For example, the transliteration of the Greek Ελιά Καλαμάτας ‚’ is ‘Elia Kalamatas’.

A translation is the conversion of the word in one language to the same word in another language. For example, the translation of the Greek term, ‘Elia Kalamatas’, is ‘Kalamata Olives’.

A transcription is the conversion of the characters of one language to the characters of second language in accordance with the pronunciation of the second language. For example, the usual transliteration of Ελληνική Δημοκρατία (Hellenic Republic) is ‘EllēnikḠDēmokratía’,while the transcription could be ‘elinikí dimokratía’.

How long will it take before I know the outcome on EU GI names?

We don't expect final decisions on protection of EU GIs until late in the FTA negotiations. The Government has made clear it will not agree to protect specific GIs unless the overall deal is good enough, including the EU delivering new, commercially-significant market access for our exporters. We will provide updates on the progress of negotiations at the end of each negotiating round on the DFAT website. We hold regular stakeholder briefing sessions and you can seek an update through our dedicated email a-eufta-gisubmissions@dfat.gov.au.

Can I still comment on the protection of EU GIs?

The Government is interested in industry and stakeholder views on the protection of GIs.

Comments and submissions can be emailed to a-eufta-gisubmissions@dfat.gov.au (preferred),or mail them to the following address:

Australia-European Union Free Trade Agreement
Office of Trade Negotiations
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
RG Casey Building
John McEwen Crescent
Barton ACT 0221 Australia

For further information please see A-EUFTA submissions

* The information provided on this website is general in nature and does not constitute legal or business advice. If you have any concerns relating to your specific circumstances, you may wish to seek independent advice.

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