The EGC today dismissed a request by the Czech Republic to annul a 2013 decision not to grant TSG status to Pomázánkove Máslo.
The Czech Republic applied for TSG status for Pomázánkove Máslo after it was ruled it had infringed the Single Common Market Organisation (CMO) Regulation by marketing the product as butter.
Under the Single CMO Regulation, only products with a milk-fat content of between 80% and 90%, a maximum water content of 16%, and maximum dry non-fat content of 2% may be designated 'butter'.
Pomázánkove Máslo, which means 'butter spread' in Czech, has a minimum fat content of 31% by weight, a minimum dry material content of 42%, and water content of up to 58%.
The Single CMO Regulation does not apply, however, "where the exact nature of the product is clear from traditional usage."
In a bid to bypass the Single CMO Regulation, the Czech Republic applied to the European Commission (EC)for TSG status. Available under the wider European Union (EU) geographical indications (GI) scheme, TSG status recognizes “traditional character, either in the composition or means of production.”
In 2013, the EC rejected the Czech Republic's application on the grounds it would infringe the Single CMO Regulation.
Seeking an annulment of this ruling, it argued TSG and the Single CMO Regulation "constitute alternative methods of registering designations of agricultural products," said an EGC statement.
Dismissing the Czech request, the EGC said using the TSG scheme "to circumvent the provisions of the Single CMO Regulation would compromise the standardisation of the use of the commercial names of agricultural products and, consequently, the objective of preserving competition and protecting consumers."
"Moreover, the Court notes that the quality scheme regulation allows the use of a name register as a TSG only for a product that meets the marketing standards laid down in the single CMO regulation," the EGC statement added.