Brand and Geographical Indication

Protection of a Brand with Geographical Indication or a Brand with a Country Name.

The country name or geographical indication of a brand is used to identify a place or origin.

It is often a guarantee of authenticity and trust.

For example, it is commonly accepted that Monaco represents luxury, France refers to the lifestyle and Germany to the automobile or robustness.

From an intellectual property point of view, the geographical name or geographical indication represents a real added value for brands.

Is it possible to protect a trademark with a country name or a trademark with a geographical indication?

The primary function of protecting a country name or geographical indication is to reassure consumers about the origin and specific quality of a product.

(Décision du 29/03/2011, C-96/09, Bud, EU: C : 2011: 189, § 147).

The Regulation on Brands in the European Union and Country Names, Geographical Names and Geographical Indications

In Europe, country names, geographical names, are regulated by the European Union Trademark Regulation (EUTM). According to its Article 7, § 1st, C, trademarks may not be registered if they consist exclusively of an indication used to designate the geographical indication of the production of the product or the provision of the service.

According to well-established case law, this article serves the general interest and its objective is to prevent the same geographical indication from being monopolised by a single entity.

(Décision du 4 mai 1999, Windsurfing Chiemsee, C-108/97 et C-109/97, EU: C: 1999: 230).

Some cities or states have taken protective measures for the country name or geographical indication and are protected and registered trademarks.
For example, the names Monaco and Monte-Carlo are protected and registered and can only be used under trademark license. This is also the case for Saint-Tropez, for example the municipality has had the Pizza Saint-Tropez brand of a frozen food manufacturer in the Vaucluse cancelled.

Your country name or geographical indication must not correspond to an AOC or PGI type designation of origin or affect the name, image or reputation of a local authority.
However, if a municipality's name has become generic, it can no longer oppose filings with its name. One example is Laguiole.

INLEX Monaco can assist you in the filing and/or protection of a trademark with a country name or geographical indication.