19 August 2021 News

Günzel O., Dinkel B., German court says that product specification for PDO is exhaustive without room for additional requirements prescribed by national legislation, Journal of Intellectual Property Law & Practice, Volume 16, Issue 4-5, April-May 2021, Pages 296–297

The Supreme Administrative Court Rhineland-Palatinate has allowed a winegrower to use the protected designation of origin (PDO) ‘Rheinhessen’ for wine grown on his vineyard located in the geographical area according to the product specification with no need to meet additional requirements prescribed by national legislation.
The PDO ‘Rheinhessen’ did not undergo a specific application, but was part of Germany’s list of quality wines forwarded to the European Commission according to Article 54 Council Regulation (EC) No 1493/1999. This means that ‘Rheinhessen’ was automatically granted protection. Germany, as the EU Member State of origin, was required to submit the technical file for the PDO, including, in particular, the product specification for the PDO. The product specification had to include at least the name to be protected, a description of the wine, the specific oenological procedures for producing wine (where applicable), the wine production guidelines, and the demarcation of the geographical area concerned. The single document for the PDO ‘Rheinhessen’ published in the database eAmbrosia containing the product specification defines the geographical area as the vineyard areas of 148 municipalities in Rhineland-Palatinate, which are expressly enumerated in alphabetical order (from Albig to Zotzenheim). This text aims to present the facts and the legal context, addressing an analysis of how the dispute was resolved in the field of legal protection of intellectual property rights.