‘Unprecedented demand’ for Guaranteed Irish symbol

There is “unprecedented demand” from companies to secure a Guaranteed Irish trademark, according to the firm behind the scheme, as other companies await the outcome of a legal challenge over Waterford Crystal glass.

Tom Rea, director of Guaranteed Irish, said 40 firms had been registered with the GI mark already in 2012.

“The demand for our symbol at the moment is unprecedented,” he said.

“It is extremely positive from our point of view,” he said, adding that the system was “self-policing”.

The last firm to have the GI symbol removed because the company no longer complied with the criteria was back in 2011, although Mr Rea said there were continuing challenges in an era when many firms were undergoing restructuring to cope with the effects of the recession.

However, he said market research indicated a growing consumer demand for GI products as people drew a tangible link between the symbol and jobs in this country.

“The only way we are going to get out of this is by helping ourselves,” he said.

Many of the firms now seeking the GI symbol — which has been in operation for more than a quarter of a century — are smaller craftware producers, and Mr Rea said there was an issue as to how many of these firms would be able to get their product to the marketplace.

He said the question for larger, well-established firms that did not have the GI symbol was “why not?”

One possible development is the outcome of a test case brought by the Unite trade union regarding Waterford Crystal glass.

The vast majority of the company’s operations have been moved offshore and Unite lodged papers in February with the EU’s Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market (Trade marks and Design) in Alicante.

Unite has argued that a favourable ruling in that case could force the current Waterford Crystal owners, US private equity company KPS Capital Partners, to repatriate manufacturing of the brand to Waterford.

A decision is due in the coming months and Mr Rea said other Irish firms would be looking at the outcome.


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