What is a Geographical Indication?
A geographical indication (GI) is a name or sign used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin. In order to function as a GI, a sign must identify a product as originating in a given place. In addition, the qualities, characteristics or reputation of the product should be essentially due to the place of origin. It is used to identify agricultural, natural or manufactured goods. Since the qualities depend on the geographical place of production, there is a clear link between the product and its original place of production.
In December 1999, the Parliament had passed the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act,1999. This Act seeks to provide for the registration and better protection of geographical indications relating to goods in India. The Act would be administered by the Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trade Marks- who is the Registrar of Geographical Indications. The Geographical Indications Registry would be located at Chennai.
Examples of Indian Geographical Indications.
- Basmati Rice Darjeeling Tea, Kanchipuram silk saree, Nagpur orange Kolhapuri chappal, Bikaneri bhujia, Agra petha.
What are the benefit of registration of geographical indications?
- It confers legal protection to Geographical Indications in India
- Prevents unauthorised use of a Registered Geographical Indication by others
- It provides legal protection to Indian Geographical Indications which in turn boost exports.
- It promotes economic prosperity of producers of goods produced in a geographical territory.
Who can apply for the registration of a geographical indication?
- Any association of persons, producers, organisation or authority established by or under the law can apply.
Who is a producer in relation to a Geographical Indication?
- The persons dealing with three categories of goods are covered under the term Producer:
- Agricultural Goods includes the production, processing, trading or dealing
- Natural Goods includes exploiting, trading or dealing
- Handicrafts or Industrial goods includes making, manufacturing, trading or dealing.
Is a registration of a geographical indication compulsory and how does it help the applicant?
- Registration is not compulsory
- Registration affords better legal protection to facilitate an action for infringement
- The registered proprietor and authorised users can initiate infringement actions
- The authorised users can exercise the exclusive right to use the geographical indication.
Who can use the registered geographical indication?
An authorised user has the exclusive rights to the use of geographical indication in relation to goods in respect of which it is registered.
How long the registration of Geographical Indication is valid?
The registration of a geographical indication is valid for a period of 10 years
Can a Geographical Indication be renewed?
It can be renewed from time to time for further period of 10 years each.
How a geographical indication is different from a trade mark?
- A trade mark is a sign which is used in the course of trade and it distinguishes goods or services of one enterprise from those of other enterprises.
Whereas a geographical indication is an indication used to identify goods having special characteristics originating from a definite geographical territory.