General information

Geographical Indication

What are geographical indications?

A Geographical Indication (GI) refers to a type of intellectual property right that is used to identify a product as originating from a specific geographical region and possessing certain qualities, reputation, or characteristics attributable to that region. A GI is used to protect the geographical name of a product and prevent others from using that name to market similar products that do not meet the criteria associated with that specific geographical region.

A GI can be associated with a wide range of products, such as agricultural products (e.g., wines, cheeses, fruits), handicrafts, industrial products (e.g., textiles, ceramics), and natural resources (e.g., minerals, timber). The purpose of GI protection is to ensure that consumers can identify and trust the quality and authenticity of products associated with a particular geographical region.

Research shows that geographical indications, especially in the EU, are closely related to sustainable development.

Information related to GIs can be useful for various purposes. For example, it can be used to analyse trends and patterns in the filing of patents related to GIs in different regions or countries, identify technology areas or industries where GI protection is particularly relevant, or assess the economic impact of GIs on specific regions or countries. Patent data related to GIs can also be used by businesses to make strategic decisions, such as identifying potential markets or competitors in specific geographical regions or assessing the strength and enforceability of GI-related patents.

Alternate names

Depending on the country or region, GIs may be known by other names. Some of the most common alternative terms include:

  • Appellations of Origin (AO): Commonly used in the EU; refers to a specific geographical area that is legally recognized as the place of origin of a particular product with specific qualities and characteristics. An AO generally has a stronger link to its place of origin than a GI in that all the raw materials should be sourced and the production of the item under protection has to happen in the place of origin.
  • Designation of Origin (DO): Used in Italy and Spain;
  • Protected Designation of Origin (PDO): Registered and protected under EU law; indicates that a product comes from a specific geographical area and has certain qualities or characteristics associated with that area.
  • Protected Geographical Indication (PGI): Registered and protected under EU law; indicates that a product’s reputation, quality, or characteristics are closely linked to a specific geographical area, although the product itself may not necessarily be produced entirely within that area.