IP case law Court of Justice

Regulation No 2081/92

Regulation (EEC) No 2081/92 of 14 July 1992 on the protection of geographical indications and designations of origin for agricultural products and foodstuffs, as amended by Regulation (EC) No 535/97 of 17 March 1997

1 pending referral

Referral C-432/18 (Consorzio Tutela Aceto Balsamico di Modena, 2 Jul 2018)


15 preliminary rulings

Judgment of 8 May 2014, C-35/13 (Assica)

Council Regulation (EEC) No 2081/92 of 14 July 1992 on the protection of geographical indications and designations of origin for agricultural products and foodstuffs, as amended by Council Regulation (EC) No 535/97 of 17 March 1997, must be interpreted as meaning that it does not afford protection to a geographical designation which has not obtained a Community registration, but that that geographical designation may be protected, should the case arise, under national legislation concerning geographical designations relating to products for which there is no specific link between their characteristics and their geographical origin, provided, however, that, first, the implementation of that legislation does not undermine the objectives pursued by Regulation No 2081/92 as amended by Council Regulation (EC) No 535/97 and, secondly, it does not contravene the principle of the free movement of goods under Article 28 EC, matters which fall to be determined by the national court.

Judgment of 22 Dec 2010, C-120/08 (Bavaria)

Article 14(1) of Council Regulation (EEC) No 2081/92 of 14 July 1992 on the protection of geographical indications and designations of origin for agricultural products and foodstuffs is applicable for resolving the conflict between a name validly registered as a protected geographical indication in accordance with the simplified procedure under Article 17 of that regulation and a trade mark corresponding to one of the situations referred to in Article 13 of that regulation relating to the same type of product, the application for registration of which was submitted both before the registration of that name and before the entry into force of Council Regulation (EC) No 692/2003 of 8 April 2003 amending Regulation No 2081/92. The date of the entry into force of the registration of that name constitutes the reference date for the purposes of Article 14(1) of Regulation No 2081/92.

Judgment of 10 Sep 2009, C-446/07 (Alberto Severi)

Articles 3(1) and 13(3) of Council Regulation (EEC) No 2081/92 of 14 July 1992 on the protection of geographical indications and designations of origin for agricultural products and foodstuffs, as amended by Commission Regulation (EC) No 2796/2000 of 20 December 2000, must be interpreted as meaning that the designation of a foodstuff containing geographical references, which has been the subject of an application for registration as a protected designation of origin or a protected geographical indication within the meaning of Regulation No 2081/92, as amended by Regulation No 2796/2000, cannot be regarded as generic pending the possible forwarding of the application for registration to the Commission of the European Communities by the national authorities. A designation cannot be presumed to be generic, within the meaning of Regulation No 2081/92, as amended by Regulation No 2796/2000, for as long as the Commission has not taken a decision on the application for registration of the designation, as the case may be, by rejecting it on the specific ground that that designation has become generic.

Articles 3(1) and 13(3) of Regulation No 2081/92, as amended by Regulation No 2796/2000, read with Article 2 of Directive 2000/13/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 March 2000 on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to the labelling, presentation and advertising of foodstuffs, must be interpreted as meaning that the designation of a foodstuff containing geographical references, which is not registered as a protected designation of origin or a protected geographical indication, may legitimately be used, on condition that the labelling of the product so named does not mislead the average reasonably well informed, observant and circumspect consumer. For the purpose of assessing whether that is the case, national courts may have regard to the length of time during which the name has been used. By contrast, any good faith on the part of the manufacturer or retailer is irrelevant in that regard.

Judgment of 8 Sep 2009, C-478/07 (Budĕjovický Budvar I)

It follows from paragraph 101 of the judgment of 18 November 2003 in Case C‑216/01 Budĕjovický Budvar that: – in order to determine whether a designation can be considered to constitute a simple and indirect indication of geographical provenance, protection of which under the bilateral instruments at issue is capable of being justified on the basis of the criteria laid down in Article 30 EC, the national court must ascertain whether, according to factual circumstances and perceptions prevailing in the Czech Republic, that designation, even if it is not in itself a geographical name, is at least capable of informing the consumer that the product bearing that indication comes from a particular place or region of that Member State; – the national court must, in addition, ascertain, once again in the light of factual circumstances and perceptions prevailing in the Czech Republic, whether, as stated in paragraph 99 of that judgment, the designation at issue in the main proceedings has not, either at the time of the entry into force of the bilateral instruments at issue in the main proceedings or subsequently, become generic in that Member State, the Court of Justice of the European Communities having already held, in paragraphs 99 and 100 of that judgment, that the aim of the system of protection introduced by those instruments falls within the sphere of the protection of industrial and commercial property within the meaning of Article 30 EC; – in the absence of any Community provision in that regard, it is for the national court to decide, in accordance with its own national law, whether a consumer survey should be commissioned for the purpose of clarifying the factual circumstances and perceptions prevailing in the Czech Republic in order to ascertain whether the designation ‘Bud’ at issue in the main proceedings can be classified as a simple and indirect indication of geographical provenance and has not become generic in that Member State. It is also in the light of that national law that the national court, if it finds it necessary to commission a consumer survey, must determine, for the purposes of making the necessary assessments, the percentage of consumers that would be sufficiently significant; and – Article 30 EC does not lay down specific requirements as to the quality and the duration of the use made of a designation in the Member State of origin for its protection to be justified in the light of that article. Whether such requirements apply in the context of the dispute in the main proceedings must be determined by the national court in the light of the applicable national law, in particular the system of protection laid down by the bilateral instruments at issue in the main proceedings.

The Community system of protection laid down by Council Regulation (EC) No 510/2006 of 20 March 2006 on the protection of geographical indications and designations of origin for agricultural products and foodstuffs is exhaustive in nature, with the result that that regulation precludes the application of a system of protection laid down by agreements between two Member States, such as the bilateral instruments at issue in the main proceedings, which confers on a designation, which is recognised under the law of a Member State as constituting a designation of origin, protection in another Member State where that protection is actually claimed, despite the fact that no application for registration of that designation of origin has been made in accordance with that regulation.

Judgment of 2 Jul 2009, C-343/07 (Bavaria)

Consideration of the first question asked by the referring court has not disclosed any factor liable to affect the validity of Council Regulation (EC) No 1347/2001 of 28 June 2001 supplementing the Annex to Commission Regulation (EC) No 1107/96 on the registration of geographical indications and designations of origin under the procedure laid down in Article 17 of Council Regulation (EEC) No 2081/92.

Regulation No 1347/2001 must be interpreted as having no adverse effects on the validity and the possibility of using, in one of the situations referred to in Article 13 of Council Regulation (EEC) No

Order of 12 Jun 2008, C-23/07 (Tocai friulano)

1. The Act concerning the conditions of accession of the Czech Republic, the Republic of Estonia, the Republic of Cyprus, the Republic of Latvia, the Republic of Lithuania, the Republic of Hungary, the Republic of Malta, the Republic of Poland, the Republic of Slovenia and the Slovak Republic and the adjustments to the Treaties on which the European Union is founded must be interpreted as meaning that, in accordance with Article 2 of that act, in so far as the provisions laid down in Commission Regulation (EC) No 753/2002 of 29 April 2002 laying down certain rules for applying Council Regulation (EC) No 1493/1999 as regards the description, designation, presentation and protection of certain wine sector products prohibit use of the term

Article 53 of Council Regulation (EC) No 1493/1999 of 17 May 1999 on the common organisation of the market in wine constitutes an adequate legal basis for the adoption by the Commission of the European Communities of the provisions laid down in Regulation No 753/2002 and reproduced in Regulation No 1429/2004, the effect of which is to prohibit use of the term

Article 19(2) of Regulation No 753/2002 must be interpreted as not precluding the provisions laid down in Regulation No 753/2002 and reproduced in Regulation No 1429/2004, the effect of which is to prohibit use of the term

Article 50 of Regulation No 1493/1999 must be interpreted as meaning that, for the purposes of implementing Articles 23 and 24 of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, which constitutes Annex 1C to the Agreement establishing the World Trade Organisation (WTO), signed in Marrakech on 15 April 1994 and approved by Council Decision 94/800/EC of 22 December 1994 concerning the conclusion on behalf of the European Community, as regards matters within its competence, of the agreements reached in the Uruguay Round multilateral negotiations (1986-1994) and, in particular, Article 24(6) of that agreement, those provisions do not preclude the adoption of measures such as those laid down in Regulation No 753/2002 and reproduced in Regulation No 1429/2004, the effect of which is to prohibit use of the term

Judgment of 18 Nov 2003, C-216/01 (Budvar)

Article 28 EC and Council Regulation (EEC) No 2081/92 of 14 July 1992 on the protection of geographical indications and designations of origin for agricultural products and foodstuffs, as amended by Council Regulation (EC) No 535/97 of 17 March 1997, do not preclude the application of a provision of a bilateral agreement between a Member State and a non-member country under which a simple and indirect indication of geographical origin from that non-member country is accorded protection in the importing Member State, whether or not there is any risk of consumers being misled, and the import of a product lawfully marketed in another Member State may be prevented.

Article 28 EC precludes the application of a provision of a bilateral agreement between a Member State and a non-member country under which a name which in that country does not directly or indirectly refer to the geographical source of the product that it designates is accorded protection in the importing Member State, whether or not there is any risk of consumers being misled, and the import of a product lawfully marketed in another Member State may be prevented.

Judgment of 20 May 2003, C-108/01 (Prosciutto di Parma)

Council Regulation (EEC) No 2081/92 of 14 July 1992 on the protection of geographical indications and designations of origin for agricultural products and foodstuffs, as amended by the Act concerning the conditions of accession of the Republic of Austria, the Republic of Finland and the Kingdom of Sweden and the adjustments to the Treaties on which the European Union is founded, must be interpreted as not precluding the use of a protected designation of origin from being subject to the condition that operations such as the slicing and packaging of the product take place in the region of production, where such a condition is laid down in the specification.

Where the use of the protected designation of origin Prosciutto di Parma for ham marketed in slices is made subject to the condition that slicing and packaging operations be carried out in the region of production, this constitutes a measure having equivalent effect to a quantitative restriction on exports within the meaning of Article 29 EC, but may be regarded as justified, and hence compatible with that provision.

However, the condition in question cannot be relied on against economic operators, as it was not brought to their attention by adequate publicity in Community legislation. Rodr

Judgment of 20 May 2003, C-469/00 (Ravil)

As regards the period prior to the entry into force of Commission Regulation (EC) No 1107/96 of 12 June 1996 on the registration of geographical indications and designations of origin under the procedure laid down in Article 17 of Council Regulation (EEC) No 2081/92, Article 29 EC must be interpreted as not precluding a convention concluded between two Member States A and B, such as the Convention between the French Republic and the Italian Republic on the protection of designations of origin, indications of provenance and names of certain products, signed in Rome on 28 April 1964, from making applicable in Member State A national legislation of Member State B, such as that referred to by the national court, under which the designation of origin of a cheese, protected in Member State B, is reserved, for cheese marketed in grated form, to cheese grated and packaged in the region of production.

Council Regulation (EEC) No 2081/92 of 14 July 1992 on the protection of geographical indications and designations of origin for agricultural products and foodstuffs, as amended by the Act concerning the conditions of accession of the Republic of Austria, the Republic of Finland and the Kingdom of Sweden and the adjustments to the Treaties on which the European Union is founded, must be interpreted as not precluding the use of a protected designation of origin from being subject to the condition that operations such as the grating and packaging of the product take place in the region of production, where such a condition is laid down in the specification.

Where the use of the protected designation of origin ‘Grana Padano’ for cheese marketed in grated form is made subject to the condition that grating and packaging operations be carried out in the region of production, this constitutes a measure having equivalent effect to a quantitative restriction on exports within the meaning of Article 29 EC, but may be regarded as justified, and hence compatible with that provision.

However, the condition in question may not be relied on against economic operators, as it was not brought to their knowledge by adequate publicity in Community legislation. Nevertheless, the principle of legal certainty does not preclude that condition from being regarded by the national court as capable of being relied on against operators who carried on the activity of grating and packaging the product in the period prior to the entry into force of Regulation No 1107/96, should that court consider that during that period the Decree of 4 November 1991 was applicable by virtue of the aforesaid Convention between the French Republic and the Italian Republic and capable of being relied on against those concerned by virtue of the national rules on publicity. Rodríguez IglesiasPuissochet Wathelet SchintgenTimmermans Gulmann EdwardJann Skouris MackenColneric von BahrCunha Rodrigues

Judgment of 25 Jun 2002, C-66/00 (Dante Bigi)

On a proper construction of Article 13(2) of Council Regulation (EEC) No 2081/92 of 14 July 1992 on the protection of geographical indications and designations of origin for agricultural products and foodstuffs, as amended by Council Regulation (EC) No 535/97 of 17 March 1997, products are not covered by the system of derogations set up by Article 13(2) where they originate in the State of the protected designation of origin the protection of which under Article 13(1)(a) and (b) of Regulation No 2081/92, as amended, is at issue and they do not meet the product specification for that protected designation of origin.

Judgment of 6 Dec 2001, C-269/99 (Carl Kühne )

Consideration of the question referred has not revealed any matter of such a nature as to affect the validity of Commission Regulation (EC) No 590/1999 of 18 March 1999 supplementing the Annex to Regulation (EC) No 1107/96 on the registration of geographical indications and designations of origin under the procedure laid down in Article 17 of Regulation (EEC) No 2081/92, in so far as it registers the designation Spreewälder Gurken.

Judgment of 7 Nov 2000, C-312/98 (Schutzverband)

Council Regulation (EEC) No 2081/92 of 14 July 1992 on the protection of geographical indications and designations of origin for agricultural products and foodstuffs does not preclude the application of national legislation which prohibits the potentially misleading use of a geographical indication of source in the case of which there is no link between the characteristics of the product and its geographical provenance.

Judgment of 4 Mar 1999, C-87/97 (Gorgonzola)

In the present state of Community law, the principle of the free movement of goods does not preclude Member States from taking the measures incumbent upon them in order to ensure the protection of designations of origin registered under Council Regulation (EEC) No 2081/92 of 14 July 1992 on the protection of geographical indications and designations of origin for agricultural products and foodstuffs. Use of a name such as `Cambozola' may therefore be deemed, for the purposes of Article 13(1)(b) of that regulation, to evoke the protected designation of origin `Gorgonzola', irrespective of the fact that the packaging indicates the product's true origin. It is for the national court to decide whether, on the facts, the conditions laid down in Article 14(2) of Regulation No 2081/92 allow use of an earlier trade mark to continue notwithstanding the registration of the protected designation of origin `Gorgonzola', having regard in particular to the law in force at the time of registration of the trade mark, in order to determine whether such registration could have been made in good faith, on the basis that use of a name such as `Cambozola' does not, per se, constitute an attempt to deceive the consumer.

Judgment of 9 Jun 1998, C-129/97 (Fromagerie Chiciak)

Council Regulation (EEC) No 2081/92 of 14 July 1992 on the protection ofgeographical indications and designations of origin for agriculturalproducts and foodstuffs must be interpreted as meaning that, since its entryinto force, a Member State may not, by adopting provisions of nationallaws, alter a designation of origin for which it has requested registration inaccordance with Article 17 and protect that designation at national level.

As regards a `compound' designation of origin, the fact that there is no footnote in the annex to Commission Regulation (EC) No 1107/96 of 12 June 1996 on the registration of geographical indications and designations of origin under the procedure laid down in Article 17 of Regulation No 2081/92 specifying that registration is not sought for one of the parts of that designation does not necessarily mean that each of its constituent parts is protected.

Judgment of 7 May 1997, C-321/94 (Jacques Pistre)

Council Regulation (EEC) No 2081/92 of 14 July 1992 on the protection of geographical indications and designations of origin for agricultural products and foodstuffs does not preclude application of domestic rules, such as those laid down by Article 34 of Law No 85-30 of 9 January 1985 and Decree No 88-194 of 26 February 1988, which lay down the conditions governing the use of the description `mountain' in relation to agricultural products and foodstuffs.

4 appeals

Judgment of 13 Feb 2014, C-31/13 (Hungary - Tokaj)


Judgment of 25 Oct 2005, C-465/02 (Feta)


Order of 26 Oct 2000, C-447/98 (Altenburger Ziegenk)


Judgment of 16 Mar 1999, C-289/96 (Feta)



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