Prosecco by any other name: Further EU geographical indication restrictions

The European Union (EU) has applied for additional geographical indications (GI) for wine to be included in the Australian-European Community Agreement on Trade in Wine. A full list of the additional geographical indications to be added to the restricted list are available here. Submissions opposing the expanded GI list, based on pre-existing trade mark rights, are currently being considered.

The current agreement came into force on 1 September 2010 restricting use of recognised European GIs for wine produced in Australia. A GI identifies a particular wine as originating in a region or locality where a given quality, reputation or other characteristics of the wine is essentially attributable to the geographical origin. Some of the better recognised EU GIs include Champagne, Port and Sherry; locally renamed as sparkling wine, tawny and apera, respectively.

The new list further restricts Australian wineries and wine makers. Most notably, Prosecco has been added to the restricted list, as well as further restrictions to the use of Chablis. However, the Trade Marks Office is currently considering submissions opposing these additional geographical indications based on pre-existing trade mark rights. The deadline for filing any objections is 15 April 2012.

Any one with concerns regarding the impact of these additional GI restrictions, or for further information regarding objections, should contact IP Australia or a registered trade marks attorney.