Protecting food and drink names if there’s no Brexit deal

What food and drink producers with ‘geographical indication’ (GI) protection need to know if the UK leaves the EU with no deal.

Rules from 29 March 2019 (may also apply to new exit date on 31 December 2020)

The UK will set up its own GI schemes. These will mirror the EU schemes and fulfil the UK’s World Trade Organisation (WTO) obligations.

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) will:

  • manage the schemes
  • maintain the register of protected products
  • process new applications

The new UK schemes use the same classes as the current EU GI schemes:

  • Protected Designation of Origin (PDO)
  • Protected Geographical Indication (PGI)
  • Traditional Specialities Guaranteed (TSG)

Local authority trading standards bodies will be responsible for enforcement.

Existing UK products

All existing UK products registered under EU GI schemes will automatically get UK GI status and will remain protected in the UK.

New product applications

Food and drink producers seeking protection for new products will be able to apply to the relevant UK scheme. The schemes will be open to UK, EU and non-EU country producers.

Defra will publish guidance on how to apply to the UK GI schemes in March 2019.

New UK GI logos will represent 3 classes of GI product:

  • PDO
  • PGI
  • TSG

Use of UK GI logos

For UK food and agricultural GI products – including beer, cider and perry – sold in the UK, you’ll need to:

  • use the relevant UK GI logo on packaging
  • follow the rules on how to use the logo (for example, its size and position)

You can choose to use the UK GI logo if you’re a non-UK producer of a food and agricultural product recognised under the UK scheme.

You can choose to use the UK GI logo if you are a producer of a registered:

  • wine
  • spirit drink
  • aromatised (fortified flavoured) wine

You’ll have 3 years from the launch of the UK schemes to adopt the relevant UK logo on food and agricultural product packaging. After 3 years, you’ll be required to comply with the relevant UK GI logo rules.

Protection of UK GIs in the EU

The UK government anticipates that the EU GI schemes will continue to protect all current UK GIs after the UK leaves the EU in a deal or no deal scenario. But, if the UK leaves with no deal, it’s possible that the EU may not continue to protect UK GI products.

In the event of no deal, you’ll need to be prepared to apply to the European Commission to regain:

  • EU protection
  • the right to use the EU GI logo

You’ll follow a similar application process used by EU countries, and you’ll need to show that your product has UK GI status. The UK government will provide support and guidance for your application.

Other EU protections

You may consider protecting the intellectual property rights of your products in the EU by applying for either of the following:

Protection of cross border Irish products

Irish whiskey, Irish cream and Irish poteen produced anywhere on the island of Ireland will have EU and UK GI protection and no action is required.

International Protection of UK GIs

When the UK leaves the EU, the UK government expects UK GI protection to continue for products currently named in:

  • non-EU countries’ free trade agreements with the EU
  • other EU third country sectoral agreements

The UK government is working with global trading partners on free trade and sectoral agreements, including how to protect UK GIs in third countries.

Existing EU products

Producers of existing EU GIs may need to apply to the relevant UK scheme to secure UK GI status.

Published 5 February 2019

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