From Rioja wines to Parmesan or Manchego cheese and Jijona nougat, European products with designation of origin must either be protected against Brexit or they risk third parties appropriating their brand and their reputation in the United Kingdom. So says the director of oriGIn, a non-profit organization that since 2003 rRepresents more than 500 associations of producers of goods with denomination of origin or protected geographical indication (GI, in its acronyms in English) of forty countries of the world.
In addition to Scotch whiskey or Italian Parma ham, oriGIn, based in Switzerland, it counts among its members olive oil from Baena, nougat from Alicante or Manchego cheese and, outside the EU, to Colombian coffee, Cuban cigars or Mexican tequila. "We are in a period of great legal uncertainty because we do not know in what conditions the United Kingdom will leave the European Union (EU)," explains Vittori, in an aside from the Global Forum of Trademark Financing, held in London.
"We were happy with the withdrawal agreement negotiated between London and Brussels because guaranteed a transition period in which the current protection would continue to the IG until a new bilateral trade agreement was negotiated, "he says.
"However," he notes, "the agreement has not been approved by the British Parliament, and if there is no agreement by April 12, the United Kingdom could leave the bloc with nothing, which means that the legal protection over the GIs would disappear. suddenly".
While waiting for the British Government to launch its own system of recognition of those protected products, which already works (but will not be ready this month), Vittori has a key advice: "All denominations of origin must be registered as soon as possible in the United Kingdom". The same applies to the British denominations, such as Stilton cheese or Irish "tweed" wool, which also face problems in countries outside the EU, where they are now protected thanks to the bilateral agreements of the bloc.
When the trademark is patented, can be prevented from being usurped by third-party companies that try to market products of lower quality as if they were from prestigious geographical denominations. "This is happening now, but now there is protection," says Vittori.
As an example, he cites a current litigation in the European Court of Justice, which decides if a cheese that does not meet the requirements of the denomination of La Mancha can be advertised using the image of Don Quixote. In the United Kingdom, the authorities have rejected the dog-drink brand Pawsecco, which wanted to take advantage of the pull of the Italian Prosecco.
The Parma ham consortium has already registered its brand in this country, Europe's main consumer of pre-packaged products, reveals to Efe the director, Stefano Fanti. Fanti recognizes that, in addition to the legal uncertainty, the products with added value face an economic impact for the Brexit "depending on the future tariffs and the value of the pound against the euro", which can make the product more expensive.
Tim Rosenberg is the promoter of the website Great British Chefs, which, among other things, publicizes the work of the chefs in vogue and promotes the use of new ingredients among Britons who are passionate about good food.
"We estimate that there are some thirteen million people in the United Kingdom who consider themselves 'foodies' or passionate about gastronomy, making it an interesting market for any product with a quality brand," he says.
From chorizo to Iberian ham or cava, the British love Spanish production, but Rosenberg advises not to rest on their laurels and "increase the promotion of both the product itself and the production area, telling an original story that connects with consumers "