First new registration under the UK Geographical Indication scheme

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The new, independent geographical indication schemes were launched after the end of the transition period and are designed to ensure that popular and traditional products from across the United Kingdom can obtain special status to mark out their authenticity and origin. Food, drink and agricultural products with a geographical connection or that are made using traditional methods can be registered and protected as intellectual property. This protection is called a geographical indication (GI). GI protection guarantees a product’s characteristics or reputation, authenticity and origin. It protects the product name from misuse or imitation. The UK GI schemes protect registered product names when they are sold in Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) whilst the European Union GI schemes protect registered products names when they are sold in Northern Ireland and the EU. Producers in Great Britain will need to secure protection under the UK GI schemes before applying to the EU schemes to protect a product name in Northern Ireland or the EU.

An individual or business does not own a GI. Any producer can make and sell a product under a registered product name if they follow the product’s specification and are verified to do so. A GI is different to a trademark which belongs to the business that registered a product brand for protection.

In August 2021, Gower Salt Marsh Lamb became the first new food to receive protected status under the UK GI schemes. The meat produced from lambs born and reared on the Gower Peninsula in South Wales has gained full protection and recognition as a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO). The protection has been given as Gower Salt Marsh Lamb producers were able to demonstrate their meat’s characteristics are essentially and exclusively due to its particular area of production. Produced using knowledge and skills dating back to medieval times, Gower Salt Marsh Lamb comes from lamb born, reared and slaughtered on the Gower Peninsula. The meat gains its unique characteristics from specific vegetation and environment of the salt marshes on the north Gower coastline, where the lambs graze over long distances for more than half of their lifetime. It is a seasonal product, available from June until the end of December.

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If you are interested in learning more about geographical indication or brand protection in general please speak to one of our intellectual property team.