Thematic dossiers

Appellation of origin or geographical indication

Appellation of origin or geographical indication

When a geographical name - such as the name of a region, a place or a country -, in addition to informing the consumer of the origin or provenance of a product, also serves to ensure that the product meets certain characteristics and qualities, we can be faced with an Appellation of Origin (AO) or a Geographical Indication (GI).

If the AO and GI are registered, they become an Industrial Property Right, which gives legitimate holders the possibility to react against improper and abusive uses of the products, that discredit them.

In the case of AO, the relationship with the region of origin is narrower: its qualities and characteristics are due not only to human factors but also to natural conditions. It is therefore in this environment that the production, processing and elaboration of the product must take place (ex: Port Wine).

As for the GI, the relationship with the place of origin is more tenuous: it is enough that the reputation or one of several qualities or one of several characteristics can be attributed to the geographical origin, without the influence of natural and human factors. In these cases, it is enough that the production, processing or elaboration of the product happens in the region of origin (ex: Ovos-moles from Aveiro).

In addition, traditional handicrafts with a geographical reference may also be protected as a Geographical Indication, provided that it is a product of cultural importance that has the characteristics that give it its own identity and whose production proves to be of economic and social importance, translated into the number of workshops and artisans dedicated to this activity (ex: “Bordados” Embroidery of Viana do Castelo).

Both AO and GI guarantee that their products, by their characteristics, are a guarantee of quality, creating confidence in the consumers as to what they are acquiring, which results in added value for companies.

To get an idea of the products that are already protected by these Industrial Property Rights, you can consult the Portuguese Traditional Products website, which is a space dedicated to the dissemination of heritage, producers, flavours and traditional knowledge of our country.

Information updated on 18 December 2018 22:09