Law No. 2014-344 of March 17, 2014, on Consumer Protection provides for the possibility of creating, having recognized and protecting, by the French National Institute of Industrial Property (INPI), Geographical Indications (GI) for manufactured products, that do not come from the agri-foodstuffs industry.
GI is through this a sign that can be used on manufactured artisanal products, which come from a precise geographical location or area and which have qualities, a reputation or characteristics that are attributed exclusively to this geographical origin. The GI, once approved by the INPI, can be identified easily thanks to its logo. It will be protected from counterfeit and unfair competition. For consumers, it is a guarantee of a product’s quality and authenticity. For artisans or companies, it is a way to capitalize their products and their know-how. For local governments, it is a way to protect their heritage and showcase territorial know-how.
The Association of Marseilles Soap manufacturers is the first entity to have filed an application for approval with the INPI for specifications for the GI Marseilles Soap. This initiative will allow consumers to purchase authentic Marseilles soaps comprised of more than 72% vegetable oil (olive oil, palm oil, etc.) and manufactured according to a traditional method of saponification.
These specifications provide for the use of adjuvants, coloring agents or scents. However, certain traditional producers, who are not part of the Association of Marseilles Soap manufacturers, do not tolerate such additions.
If the INPI were to grant the GI Marseilles Soap as is, this would certainly open the door for a legal fight before the French courts in order to invalidate it.
Our legal experts are available to provide you with more information on this dossier.
In any case, if you would like to formulate, or on the contrary challenge, an application for protection of a Geographical Indication, contact our “Trademark, Drawing & Model” department which will help you with this.
(Sources: INPI, WIPO, State Secretariat for Trade, Craft Industries, Consumption and Social and solidarity economy)