GIs are a subgroup of trademarks as they are source-identifiers, assurances of quality, and business interests and can be protected through a trademark system as certification marks or as collective marks. The protection of GIs that has been approved in EU has as object of the protection the registered names and not the product itself and refer to agricultural products and foodstuffs, wines, except wine vinegars and spirit drinks.
Main reasons for protecting the GI wines is to shield them from imitative or counterfeit wines and misuse or misleading identifications as well as to protect their advantages and consequently allowing producers eligible to use a specific GI the right to do so, and simultaneously to exclude other producers from using it which are not eligible to do so.
Thus, protection of GI is essential because:
- GI wines are considered as having a competitive advantage as compared to wines without GI.
- GIs wines are differentiated from other competitive ones in the marketplace. This differentiation is based on the particular geographical origin and its reputation for cultivating specific varieties of grapes for wine production as well as producing the specific wine.
- Wines with GI obtain a higher price since they are perceived as of better quality, which adds value to the product
- Wines with GI are perceived as easily “communicative”, i.e. marketing communication techniques may be easily applied, especially WOM (Word of Mouth) with people with place attachment.
- The danger of misuse, indication, evocation or misleading indications of a geographical indication is high because it triggers free riders to try to catch the premium and exploit the benefits related with the above advantages and that do not have the perquisites of GI wines (Generic wine names or wines with names which are misleading for the consumer)
- Allows producers eligible to use a specific GI the right to do so, and simultaneously to exclude other producers from using it which are not eligible to do so.
- Any other act responsible for misleading or deceiving the public concerning the true origin of the product
Figure 2: Sales value of GI products by Sector, 2010; Nathan, 2018,