As part of our negotiations for a free trade agreement with the European Union, the EU has presented New Zealand with a list of names which are protected in the EU as geographical indications or GIs.

The EU is looking for New Zealand to recognise and protect these names as GIs.

We’re seeking submissions on the EU’s list of wine, spirits and food product names they want recognised and protected in New Zealand.

There is also an opportunity for New Zealand to provide the EU with a list of New Zealand product names for consideration as geographical indications.

We’re inviting nominations for New Zealand names that may be submitted to the EU for consideration as geographical indications in the EU.

What European product names should be protected in New Zealand?

As part of negotiations for a free trade agreement, the European Union is seeking from New Zealand recognition of and protection for product names as geographical indications in New Zealand.

The EU lists cover food, wine and spirits and are available below.

Foodstuffs list [DOCX, 36 KB]

Wines list [PDF, 364 KB]

Spirits list [PDF, 161 KB]

Anyone (except those established or resident in a Member State of the European Union) who has an interest in the use within New Zealand of any of the names in these lists has until 19 March 2019 to provide a substantiated objection to the recognition and protection of any such name as a geographical indication in New Zealand.

Relevant New Zealand agricultural, wine, spirits, aquaculture and other foodstuff producers and relevant producer bodies are encouraged in particular to make a submission where protection of any names on the list may negatively impact them.

What is a geographical indication?

A geographical indication (GI) is a name that identifies a product as originating in a territory, region, area or locality in that territory where a given quality, reputation or other characteristic of the product is essentially attributable to its geographical origin.

Why are we seeking submissions now?

New Zealand is currently negotiating a free trade agreement with the European Union (EU-NZ FTA). 

As part of those negotiations, the EU has presented New Zealand with a list of names which are protected in the EU as GIs for wine (Annex 1), spirits (Annex 2) and other products (Annex 3).  The EU is looking for New Zealand to recognise and protect these names as GIs in New Zealand under the EU-NZ free trade agreement.

The scope and level of protection that the names listed in the Annexes might be given in New Zealand if they are recognised and protected here as GIs is currently the subject of negotiation. 

The scope and level of protection that the EU is seeking is:

  • Essentially, that the names will be protected against any use in New Zealand in relation to any products, including as ingredients, that do not originate from within the EU and that were not produced according to the relevant EU product specification (a product specification sets out the name, the description of the relevant product, the geographical area or region where at least one of the steps of production must occur and method of obtaining the product).
  • Specifically, that the names will be protected in New Zealand against any:

1. direct or indirect commercial use of a protected name:

a) for comparable products not compliant with the product specification of the protected name, or

b) in so far as such use exploits the reputation of a geographical indication, including when that product is used as an ingredient;

2. misuse, imitation or evocation, even if the true origin of the product is indicated or if the protected name is translated, transcribed, transliterated or accompanied by an expression such as “style”, “type”, “method”, “as produced in”, “imitation”, “flavour”, “like” or similar, including when those products are used as an ingredient;

3. other false or misleading indication as to the origin, nature or essential qualities of the product, on the inner or outer packaging, advertising material or documents relating to the product concerned, and the packing of the product in a container liable to convey a false impression as to its origin, including when those products are used as an ingredient;

4. other practice liable to mislead consumers as to the true origin of the product.

The scope and level of protection the EU is seeking is part of an enhanced regulatory framework that the EU is looking for New Zealand to implement as a consequence of the EU-NZ free trade agreement.  This enhanced framework would protect and recognise GIs beyond wines and spirits and to an extended level of protection, which is more in line with the EU’s GI regime than New Zealand’s current GI regime. 

We will consult on the EU’s proposed enhanced regulatory framework and extended level of protection for GIs separately at a later date.

Disclaimer

This invitation to provide substantiated objections to the recognition and protection as a GI in New Zealand of any of the names listed in the Annexes must be understood in the broader context of the EU-NZ free trade agreement negotiations.

In scoping discussions between New Zealand and the EU prior to commencement of negotiations, the parties agreed that negotiations should aim at providing a broader framework for the recognition and protection of GIs beyond wine and spirits.  But both parties recognised that an agreement on providing such framework would be subject to a satisfactory outcome in the overall agreement for New Zealand.

Providing a substantiated objection to any name listed in the Annexes does not guarantee that the name will not be recognised and protected as a GI in New Zealand under the free trade agreement. Any protection of names by either the EU or New Zealand as a GI under the free trade agreement is the subject of negotiation. For New Zealand, this will require, among other things, a satisfactory outcome in the overall agreement. 

Nothing in this document should be taken as suggesting that there will be any changes to New Zealand’s current domestic regulatory regime for GI protection. 

How do I provide a substantiated objection?

A substantiated objection to the protection as a GI in New Zealand of any of the names listed in the Annexes must state the grounds upon which protection of the name should not be given in New Zealand and include relevant supporting information to substantiate the ground(s) of your objection.

Substantiated objections can be made in relation to a name listed in the annexes below, as well as in relation to any transliteration, transcription or translation of a name, or a component of a name.

An objection can be made on the following grounds:

  • the name is identical, or confusingly similar, to a trade mark or GI that is the subject of a pending application or registration under either the Trade Marks Act 2002 or the Geographical Indications (Wine and Spirits) Registration Act 2006
  • the name is identical, or confusingly similar, to a trade mark or GI currently in use in New Zealand, the rights to which have been acquired through good faith use in New Zealand.
  • the name is homonymous with a GI that is the subject of a pre-existing good faith pending application or registration under the Geographical Indications (Wine and Spirits) Registration Act 2006 and that has a different geographical origin;
  • the name is used in New Zealand as the name of a plant variety, including a wine grape variety, or an animal (including fish) breed;
  • the name is used in New Zealand as the common name for the relevant good;
  • use or protection of the name in relation to the relevant good would likely offend a significant section of the community, including Māori.

Submitters are encouraged when providing a substantiated objection to identify, to the extent they are able, all likely impacts (including any costs) on them that might occur from protection being given in New Zealand to the name objected to.

Where to provide a substantiated objection

Email substantiated objections to EU-FTA@mfat.govt.nz

The closing date for substantiated objections (received by us) is 19 March 2019.

Email us if you have questions in relation to making a submission at EU-FTA@mfat.govt.nz . Include the name and phone number of a contact person who can discuss the nomination in your message. 

Next steps

We may contact submitters directly if we need to clarify matters in their objection.

This information will inform advice to Ministers on a mandate for concluding negotiations for an free trade agreement with the EU.

The decision to protect any of the names listed in the Annexes in New Zealand through the free trade agreement will be subject to the final overall outcome of negotiations.

For more information on the negotiation, see our EU free trade agreement page.

Release of information

We intend to publish a summary of substantiated objections received, including which names have been objected to and the basis for the objections.

Objections received will also be subject to requests made under the Official Information Act 1982.  Please state clearly in any correspondence accompanying your substantiated objection, if you have any objection to the release of any information in your substantiated objection, together with the reasons for withholding the information. We will take such requests into account and will consult with submitters when responding to requests under the Official Information Act.

Private information

The Privacy Act 1993 establishes certain principles with respect to the collection, use and disclosure of information about individuals by various agencies, including MFAT. Any personal information you supply to MFAT in the course of making a submission will only be used for the purpose of assisting in the development of advice for Ministers for concluding negotiations of a FTA with the EU.

ANNEX 1: Wines

ANNEX 2: Spirits

ANNEX 3: Other products

What New Zealand product names could be nominated for consideration by the European Union as GIs?

We’re inviting nominations for New Zealand names that may be submitted to the EU for consideration as geographical indications. New Zealand agricultural, wine, spirits, aquaculture and food producers and producer groups have until 19 March 2019 to nominate product names in line with the process outlined below.

What is a geographical indication?

A geographical indication (GI) is a name that identifies a product as originating in a territory, region, area or locality in that territory where a given quality, reputation or other characteristic of the product is essentially attributable to its geographical origin.

How are geographical indications protected?

In New Zealand, GIs can be protected through:

  • registration under the Trade Marks Act 2002 (by, for example, registering a collective or certification trade mark)
  • registration under the Geographical Indications (Wine and Spirits) Registration Act 2006 (the GI Act) where the GI relates to a wine or spirit.

GI protection means that the name cannot be used in trade in relation to the specified product unless:

  • at least one manufacturing step occurs within the relevant territory, region, area or locality
  • and/or the raw materials (or a specified amount of them) used in the product’s manufacture originate from the relevant territory, region, area or locality.

Under the EU-NZ free trade agreement, the EU is looking for New Zealand to recognise and protect a list of EU names as GIs in New Zealand.  There is a parallel opportunity for New Zealand to provide the EU with a list of New Zealand names for protection as GIs in the EU.

What are the criteria?

The EU will consider names that are officially recognised as GIs in New Zealand by either registration under the GI Act or the Trade Marks Act 2002.  New Zealand must also be able to show through documentation that these names comply with the definition of a GI. This will require evidence of a link between the geographical area and a specific quality, reputation or other characteristic of the product which distinguishes it from products of the same category produced in other geographical areas.

The EU’s GI protection regime is different to New Zealand’s GI protection regime.  Under the EU-NZ free trade agreement, the EU is looking for New Zealand to implement an enhanced regulatory framework that protects and recognises GIs beyond wines and spirits and to an extended level of protection.  We will consult on this separately.

What information must I provide when nominating a name?

Applicant name and contact details
Name, contact phone number and email address.
For registered trade marks, the applicant must be the trade mark owner.
Name/geographical indication
Where the name forms part of, or is embodied in, a logo or brand, please provide a copy of the logo or brand.
Category of the product
For example: wine, spirit, cheese, processed meat, the type of fruit or vegetable, etc.
Legal means by which the name is protected
Provide an extract of the bibliographical data for the GI or trade mark registration from the IPONZ website
Product description, where relevant
For names protected under the Trade Marks Act 2002, provide a concise technical description of the finished product to which the name is applied and in the case of processed products, information on raw materials.
Concise definition of the geographical area
Link with the geographical area
A concise description of the link between the geographical area and the given quality, reputation or other characteristic of the product which distinguishes it from products of the same category produced in other geographical areas.
Please provide supporting evidence/documentation.
Specific labelling rules or conditions of use for the name, if any
Any rules or conditions that apply to the use of the name on the product or product label

 Disclaimer

This invitation to nominate names for protection in the EU as GIs must be understood in the broader context of the EU-NZ free trade agreement negotiations.

In scoping discussions between New Zealand and the EU prior to the start of negotiations, both parties agreed that negotiations should aim at providing a broader framework for the recognition and protection of GIs beyond wine and spirits.  But both parties recognised that any agreement on providing such a framework would be subject to a satisfactory outcome in the overall agreement for New Zealand.

There is no guarantee that any names nominated for protection in the EU as GIs through this process will be granted protection in the EU.  Any protection of names by either Party as a GI under the free trade agreement is the subject of negotiation.  For New Zealand, this will require among other things a satisfactory outcome in the overall agreement.  For the EU, this will require among other things the EU being satisfied that a New Zealand name operates as a GI.

Nominating a name for protection in the EU as a GI under the EU-NZ free trade agreement does not, in any way, change or affect the existing legal protections given to the name in New Zealand.

Nothing in this document should be taken as suggesting that there will be any changes to New Zealand’s current domestic regulatory regime for GI protection. 

How do I nominate a GI for protection in the EU?

New Zealand agricultural, wine, spirits, aquaculture and other foodstuff producers and relevant producer bodies are invited to nominate their names for protection in the EU as GIs to MFAT. 

Producers and relevant producer bodies are required to complete the above table of information when nominating their names. Failure to provide the information requested above could result in your name not being considered for inclusion on the New Zealand list of names to be provided to the EU. 

Email nominations to EU-FTA@mfat.govt.nz

The closing date for nominations and requested information (received by us) is 19 March 2019.

Email us if you have questions about making a nomination at EU-FTA@mfat.govt.nz.  Include the name and phone number of a contact person who can discuss the nomination in your message.

There is no fee payable for nominating a name for protection in the EU as a GI.

What if I have only recently applied to register my name?

As part of the EU-NZ free trade agreement negotiations, we are discussing a procedure whereby New Zealand or the EU may add new names to their list of GIs to be protected in the other party’s jurisdiction in the future, after the free trade agreement has been concluded and entered into force.  At that point, a further invitation for names to be nominated for protection in the EU as a GI will be made and periodically thereafter.

Next steps

This information will inform advice to Ministers on a mandate for concluding negotiations for a free trade agreement with the EU.

We may contact submitters directly if we need to clarify information regarding the nomination of their name.

Whether any names are protected in the EU through the free trade agreement will be subject to the final overall outcome of negotiations.

For more information on the negotiation, see our EU free trade agreement page.

Release of information

We intend to publish a list of the New Zealand names (together with the relevant product) that we will provide to the EU to consider for protection as GIs in the EU.

All submissions received will be subject to request under the Official Information Act 1982. Please state clearly in any correspondence accompanying your submission, if you have any objection to the release of any information in your submission together with the reasons for withholding the information. We will take such requests into account and will consult with submitters when responding to requests under the Official Information Act.

Private information

The Privacy Act 1993 establishes certain principles with respect to the collection, use and disclosure of information about individuals by various agencies, including MFAT. Any personal information you supply to MFAT in the course of making a submission will only be used for the purpose of assisting in the development of advice for Ministers for concluding negotiations of a free trade agreement with the EU.