Cypriot cured meats earn geographical indication protection

17th Feb 2021

By way of two Commission Implementing Regulations dated 3 February 2021, the European Commission has approved the registration of ‘Λούντζα Πιτσιλιάς’ (Lountza Pitsilias) and ‘Λουκάνικο Πιτσιλιάς’ (Loukaniko Pitsilias) as protected designations of origin and protected geographical indications (“PGI”). The two traditional Cypriot products which are produced in the mountain villages of Pitsilia will now be included in the list of European PGIs .

As per the regulation entering the products on the said list, the sausage of Pitsilia (Loukaniko Pitsilias) is a pork product, aged, smoked, and marinated in wine, from the Pitsilia region. Similarly, the Lountza Pitsilias is a refined product made from dried meat, brine, smoked and marinated in wine, prepared from pork tenderloin.

These products, commonly known to Cypriot consumers as delicious traditional and popular products will now be protected on the European level. As per the regulation, “production know-how has remained unchanged and has been passed down from generation to generation; it is still used today in the modern facilities of producers in the Pitsilia region”.

For the Cyprus Ministry of Agriculture, this is a welcome development following several setbacks with the protection of the HALLOUMI trademark. The Ministry highlighted that the production of value-added products and exclusive local wines promote the region of Pitsilia as a place of gastronomic interest.

What is a PGI?

PGIs establish intellectual property rights for specific products, whose qualities are specifically linked to a specific geographical area of production and possess a certain reputation or qualities due to that place of origin. Specifically, European PGIs emphasise the relationship between the specific geographic region and the name of the product, where a particular quality, reputation or other characteristic is essentially attributable to its geographical origin.

A PGI typically includes the name of the place of origin. Unlike trademarks, which are distinctive signs identifying goods of one specific enterprise, PGIs are distinctive signs identifying goods as originating from a specific geographical area which can be used by all producers from the area which manufacture a given product in a prescribed way. From an economic perspective PGIs are a form of a collective exclusive right.

The aim of this European protection policy for PGIs is to protect the names of specific products and to promote their unique characteristics, linked to their geographical origin as well as traditional know-how. In addition, such certifications enable consumers to trust and distinguish quality products while also helping producers to market their products better.

In addition, another one of the guiding principles and objectives of Regulation (EU) No 1151/2012 (that covers agricultural PGIs) is the promotion of rural development, defining PGI and quality schemes that can “[…] contribute to and complement rural development policy as well as market and income support policies of the common agricultural policy (CAP). In particular, they may contribute to areas in which the farming sector is of greater economic importance and, especially, to disadvantaged areas […]”. A number of research studies have revealed that agricultural PGI products have contributed to rural development.

PGIs can also be a means for small local producers to enhance their reputations, thus enabling them to compete more effectively with larger corporations and to protect themselves against unfair competition.

The Regulations approving the above described PGIs can be found via the following links:

For further information, do not hesitate to contact our Intellectual Property team.

[Article by associate Athena Mavroyiannis]

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