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Despite Deal, FYROM Companies Can Keep Macedonian Labels on Goods

Αssociated press

FILE - People waving FYROM and EU flags march through downtown Skopje, FYROM, Sunday, Sept. 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski)

Greek companies who use the name of the ancient province Macedonia to identity their products, especially foods, will find themselves in continuing competition with what will become North Macedonia, once the deal to change the name of The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) is finalized.

Businesses in Greece’s Balkan neighbor will still be able to brand most of their products as Macedonian even after the name change, under the agreement, said Kathimerini.

The name “Macedonia” features in various forms in the brands of 182 Greek businesses across all sectors – with 39 in the food and agricultural sector – while over 4,000 businesses use the term to describe one or more of their products, the paper said.

The confusion hasn’t been cleared yet despite calls in both countries to work in resolving the problem consumers would face when seeing the word Macedonia or Macedonian on labels without knowing if they were from the real Macedonia or North Macedonia.

Business analysts are said to be advising Greek businesses to secure the rights to their logos and names, according to existing European and international procedures and commercial chambers in northern Greece, abutting FYROM, are already offering legal advice and assistance.

The deal, however, will not affect products with a protected Designated of Origin (POP) or Geographical Indicator (PGE), as their names cannot be disputed since they have been determined via the provisions, terms and decisions of the European Union.

The agreement also provides for the creation of an international team of experts from both countries which will have until 2022 to complete its work.

Legal experts told the paper that businesses which have protected their trademarks and commercial names will have a better legal standing if they act promptly.