Belgium, (Brussels Morning Newspaper) The European Commission has proposed to expand protection of intellectual property for industrial and craft products.
The new protection would apply to products that rely on traditional practices from their respective regions and cover products including Bolesławiec pottery, Donegal tweed, Limoges porcelain and Solingen cutlery, the EC noted in a statement on Wednesday.
The body pointed out that these products enjoy a good reputation, but do not have an EU indication protection to link their origin to quality.
“Drawing on the success of the geographical indication system for wine-spirit drinks and agricultural products, with today’s proposal for a Regulation, the Commission aims to enable producers to protect craft and industrial products associated with their region and their traditional know-how, with effects in Europe and beyond,” the EC noted.
It expressed belief that the move will help consumers to make informed choices and recognise the quality of the products in question, as well as “promote, attract and retain skills and jobs in Europe’s regions, contributing to their economic development.”
European Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager pointed out that “in the crafts and industrial sector, many SMEs have developed and refined manufacturing skills over generations, but lack incentives and resources to project them, especially across borders.”
Thierry Breton, European Commissioner for Internal Market, expressed belief that it is time to protect industrial and craft products in the same way that food and agricultural products are protected.
“Today’s initiative will contribute to the creation of skilled jobs especially for SMEs and to the development of tourism also in the more rural or economically weak areas,” he concluded.
The EC stressed that proposed rules would grant geographical indication protection to industrial and craft products as well as make it easier to take action against fake products.
The move will also establish different application processes, with the Commission pointing out that producers will first apply to national authorities, which will pass successful applications to the EU Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO).
The EC noted that direct application to the EUIPO will be possible as well and concluded that new rules offer the possibility “for producers to self-declare compliance of their products with the product specifications, making the system lighter and less costly.”