ZMP was engaged in a groundbreaking procedure for obtaining a general customs supervision based on indications of geographical origin. Customs Offices in all Balkan countries adopted our general request, filed on behalf of Champagne Wine Interprofessional Committee (Comité Interprofessionnel du vin de Champagne, CIVC). CIVC is the interprofessional body bringing together all the operators involved in Champagne wine: winegrowers, wine merchants, Champagne houses, professional associations, and cooperative cellars. Our request was related to the indication of geographical origin „Champagne“.
As it is well known, original champagne comes from Champagne region in France only. Drinks or products produced elsewhere and not in accordance with the strict guidelines made by CIVC are not authorized to bear the name Champagne. Thus, our goal was to ensure full protection to this specific right in Balkan countries.
Unlike usual procedures for obtaining customs supervision based on certificate of trademark or industrial design, this request was somewhat different and more challenging. For example, in Serbia it was directly based on Stabilization and Association agreement which served as a concrete legal basis for submitting request, since it directly protects certain rights of geographical origin, including Champagne. Therefore, it was very important to emphasize that the law directly protects the right of the geographical indication of origin of Champagne and to accurately state the articles and the corresponding annexes and protocols of this extensive agreement. In order to fulfil all necessary requirements, we sometimes had to assume the role of intermediary between the three state authorities who were quite demanding and cautious during the procedure.
Adoption of said request has a multiple significance. Most importantly, for the rightsholder, it brings a legal and economic security on the Balkan markets. Let’s hope that this might be a guide for other holders of geographical indications in so far that it is possible to achieve this type of protection for the entire Balkans, with the identical content as in the EU.
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