Slovenian Pumpkin Seed Oil Gets GI Status Despite Austria’s Objections
The ‘Štajersko prekmursko bučno olje’ (Styrian pumpkin seed oil) from the eastern Slovenian regions of Styria and Prekmurie is Slovenia’s 15th product to be entered into the European Union’s register of protected designations of origin and protected geographical indications.
Slovenia applied to register the ‘Štajersko prekmursko bučno olje’ as a GI on October 29, 2004, but the application led to several oppositions from the neighboring Austrian natural and legal persons as a trademark including the term ‘Steirisches Kürbiskernöl’ (Styrian pumpkin seed oil), as well as GI ‘Steirisches Kürbiskernöl’ had been registered in Austria prior to Slovenia’s application.
Styrian pumpkin seed oil is also a specialty of the southeast Austrian region of Styria.
Austrian objections noted that the Slovenian term ‘Štajersko’ is a literal translation of the German term ‘Steirisches’ and that when translated into other languages, the two registrations may be similar.
However, the Austrian opponents provided no evidence for the likelihood of consumer confusion. The terms ‘Štajersko prekmursko bučno olje’ and ‘Steirisches Kürbiskernöl’ are different in their original languages.
The European Commission (EC) asked the two countries to seek agreement among themselves in accordance with their internal procedures.
As Slovenia and Austria did not reach an agreement within the prescribed timeframe, the EC concluded that there is no reason not to enter the Slovenian product into the EU register.
The EC noted that references to the Slovenian regions of Štajerska and Prekmurje (Styria and Prekmurie) should not be translated into other languages when marketing the products and that the country of origin should be indicated on the labels.
Prepared by: Maja Znidaric
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Source: Ministry of Agriculture and the Environment; EU’s register
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