PRESS RELEASE | The request of protection of Traditional Term “Prošek” undermines the EU GI system

On 22 September 2021 the European Commission published for opposition in the EU Official Journal the application for protection of the Traditional Term “Prošek”. The European Federation of Origin Wines (EFOW – – is preoccupied to see that the European Commission (EC) has decided to go forward with the publication for opposition of this application.

EFOW’s members are concerned to see that the EC, the Guardian of the Treaties, is putting on the same level a notorious GI – and hence an IPR  i.e. Prosecco, with a labelling term which is the translation in Croatian of, and evokes phonetically and visually, the GI in question. We are concerned that this move will jeopardise on the long run the GI system build and exported worldwide by the EU.

We would like to recall that the EC has negotiated fiercely to protect GIs in third countries. In this case, the EC is using arguments of GI opponents to justify its approach: consumer labelling can ensure that there is no confusion. The EC argues that it is not the same wine product and that consumers through labelling should not be misled. However, this is not only about consumers being misled but firstly and foremost about diluting and exploiting the reputation and recognition build by a GI and the GI’s investments, including those made to protect the GI name against infringements in the EU and third countriesA GI loses meaning and differentiation if other products may use its name. The jurisprudence of the European Court of Justice on GIs has been consistently clear on that matter.

Today it is a Member State within the EU which is trying to circumvent the GI system. If this becomes a precedent, how can we continue to seek and obtain better GI protection in third countries (ex. Difficult on-going negotiations with Australia)?

For these reasons EFOW and its members will oppose the protection of the term “Prošek” as a Traditional Term. The EU GI system must be strengthened and not fragilised from within.