According to the UK Government website, a Geographical Indication (GI) relates to food, drink and agricultural products with a geographical connection or that are made using traditional methods which can be protected as intellectual property to guarantees the product’s characteristics or reputation, authenticity and origin.

The purpose of a GI is to protect the product name from misuse or imitation.

Therefore obtaining a GI provides exceptional protection for the repute of the product as well as providing consumers with the peace of mind about the quality and authenticity. Below we deal with the importance of the granting of a GI for Welsh whisky. 

It was recently reported that a Welsh whisky has been granted a GI in the UK. Why is this important? Well, it is the first new UK spirit drink application to be registered and protected under the UK’s post-Brexit regime.

Pre Brexit, there was a European wide GI system where food and drink business could apply to get special protection for their goods, think Scotch Whisky or Melton Mowbray Pork Pies. This enhanced protection, also meant that it was easier to prevent others from using the same or similar brand name to sell those goods but which did not come from that region or followed a specific methodology – Parmigiano Reggiano or Halloumi – which meant that the product’s reputation and quality were safeguarded. 

However, no equivalent UK GI system was in place, that is until Brexit which resulted in the creation of the UK GI system. The successful registration of Welsh Whisky as the first UK spirit drink to obtain GI status under the new regime is important as it means that others too can apply to obtain this enhanced protection in the UK. 

It is worth noting that all existing UK products registered under EU GI schemes have automatically been protected under the UK GI Schemes.

Producers seeking protection for new products are now able to apply to the relevant UK GI scheme. For new products, achieving UK GI status, will also be a “stepping stone” for those wanting to go on to apply for EU GI status.

Our view is that this development demonstrates that the UK GI scheme continues to function in a similar fashion to the European system. This type of protection is just as important for clients who may rely on a large geographical catchment, as it is for those who are offering products from a local area. If you have any queries in respect of this type of protection, or indeed any general queries about trade marks or other forms of Intellectual Property, please do not hesitate to contact our us.  


Written by

Sanjay Raphael

Date published

18 August 2023

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