CJEU on requirement to package a product covered by a protected geographical indication in its geographical area of production

Print this page 25-02-2019
IPPT20181219, CJEU, Schwarzwalder Schinken

Requirement to package a product covered by a protected geographical indication in its geographical area of production is justified, under Article 4(2)(e) Council Regulation on the protection of geographical indications and designations of origin for agricultural products and foodstuffs, if it constitutes a necessary and proportionate means to safeguard the quality of the product, to guarantee its origin or to ensure the verification of the specification of the protected geographical indications. It is for the national court to assess whether that requirement is duly justified by one of these objectives, regarding the protected geographical indications ‘Schwarzwälder Schinken’. 


GEOGRAPHICAL INDICATIONS

By application of 23 March 2005 to the DPMA, S sought a number of amendments to the specification of the PGI ‘Schwarzwälder Schinken’ in accordance with Article 9 of Council Regulation on the protection of geographical indications and designations of origin for agricultural products and foodstuffs. Three objections were lodged against a new application dated 13 February 2007, one of which by EC, which submitted observations in the present proceedings. EC is a large distributor of meat-based products, which currently slices and packages ‘Schwarzwälder Schinken’ outside of the production area. By decision of 5 December 2008, the DPMA refused the application to amend the specification inasmuch as it concerned instructions relating to the slicing and packaging, on the ground that that application did not comply with Regulation No 510/2006. Eventually, the Bundespatentgericht (Federal Patent Court) decided to refer some questions to the Court of Justice for a preliminary ruling.


The Court answers the questions as follows:
 

"Article 4(2)(e) of Council Regulation (EC) No 510/2006 of 20 March 2006 on the protection of geographical indications and designations of origin for agricultural products and foodstuffs, in conjunction with Article 8 of Commission Regulation (EC) No 1898/2006 of 14 December 2006 laying down detailed rules of implementation of Regulation No 510/2006, and Article 7(1)(e) of Regulation (EU) No 1151/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 November 2012 on quality schemes for agricultural products and foodstuffs, must be interpreted as meaning that the requirement to package a product covered by a protected geographical indication in its geographical area of production is justified, under Article 4(2)(e), if it constitutes a necessary and proportionate means to safeguard the quality of the product, to guarantee its origin or to ensure the verification of the specification of the protected geographical indication. It is for the national court to assess whether that requirement is duly justified by one of the objectives mentioned above, regarding the protected geographical indication ‘Schwarzwälder Schinken’."

 

IPPT20181219, CJEU, Schwarzwalder Schinken

C-367/17 - ECLI:EU:C:2018:1025