Geographical Indication as called GI is quiet a new addition to the protection of IPR since 2003 in India and defined under Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999.
GI was termed as “Indications of Source” and “Appellations of Origin”
The terms Indication of source was defined under the Paris Convention where the term Appellation of Origin was defined under the Lisbon Agreement.
The concept of GI is defined under Article 22 of the TRIPS agreement.
Since India is a part of the TRIPS agreement it became necessary to protect certain traders carrying on business with respect to certain goods associated with a particular place to prevent unfair trade completion.
The TRIPs prescribes minimum standards of protection of GIs and additional protection for wines and spirits. Articles 22 to 24 of Part II Section III of the TRIPS prescribe minimum standards of protection to the geographical indications that WTO members must provide. India, in compliance with its obligation under TRIPS, has taken legislative measures by enacting the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999, ISSN: 0975-8585 March – April 2014 RJPBCS 5(2) Page No. 1237 which came into effect on September 15, 2003 and the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Rules, 2002 .
A geographical indication (GI) is a sign that identifies a product as originating from a particular location which gives that product a special quality or reputation or other characteristic. Well-known examples of GIs include Darjeeling (tea), Kolhappuri Chappal, Luckhnowi Suits and many more. In simple words GI is a sign on the product which corresponds to a specific geographical location or origin.
GI helps manufacturers or producers to differentiate their products from others and build reputation and goodwill.
“geographical indication”, in relation to goods, means an indication which identifies such goods as agricultural goods, natural goods or manufactured goods as originating, or manufactured in the territory of a country, or a region or locality in that territory, where a given quality, reputation or other characteristic of such goods is essentially attributable to its geographical origin and in case where such goods are manufactured goods one of the activities of either the production or of processing r preparation of the goods concerned takes place in such territory, region or locality, as the case may be.
"goods” means any agricultural, natural or manufactured goods or any goods of handicraft or of industry and includes food stuff.
“indication” includes any name, geographical or figurative representation or any combination of them conveying or suggesting the geographical origin of goods to which it applies.
Any association of persons or producers or any organization or authority established by or under any law for the time being in force representing the interest of the producers of the concerned goods, who are desirous of registering a geographical indication in relation to such goods shall apply in writing to the Registrar in such form and in such manner and accompanied by such fees as may be prescribed for the registration of the geographical indication.
The application under sub-section (1) shall contain-
- a statement as to how the geographical indication serves to designate the goods as originating from the concerned territory of the country or region or locality in the country, as the case may be, in respect of specific quality, reputation or other characteristics of which are due exclusively or essentially to the geographical environment, with its inherent natural and human factors, and the production, processing or preparation of which takes place in such territory, region or locality, as the case ay be;
- the class of goods to which the geographical indication shall apply;
- the geographical map of the territory of the country or region or locality in the country in which the goods originate or are being manufactured;
- the particulars regarding the appearance of the geographical indication as to whether it is comprised of the words or figurative elements or both;
- a statement containing such particulars of the producers of the concerned goods, if any, proposed to be initially registered with the registration of the geographical indication as may be prescribed; and (f) such other particulars as may be prescribed.
- A single application may be made for registration of a geographical indication for different classes of goods and fee payable therefore shall be in respect of each such class of goods.
- Every application under sub-section (1) shall be filed in the office of the Geographical Indications Registry within whose territorial limits, the territory of the country or the region or locality in the country to which the geographical indication elates is situated:
- The Registrar examines the application as prescribed
- The Registrar may refuse the application or may accept it absolutely or subject to such amendments, modification, conditions or limitations, if any, as he thinks fit
- If the application is accepted, the same is advertised, here anyone can oppose
The Register of Geographical Indication is divided into 2 PARTS:
Register A: The particulars relating to the registration of the geographical indications shall be incorporated and form part of Part A of the register in the prescribed manner.
Register B: The particulars relating to the registration of the authorized users shall be incorporated and form part of part B of the register in the prescribed manner.
- Any person within 3 months from the date of advertisement and a further period of one month can file an opposition against the mark in the prescribed manner and on payment of prescribed fee.
- The applicant is this case is required to file his reply in the form of a counter statement within 2 months from the receipt of the NOP.
- Both parties can file their evidence as prescribed
- A hearing is held to scrutinize the case and accordingly registration is granted.
Time frame to complete registration process is 12 months.
The registration of a geographical indication shall be for a period of ten years, but may be renewed from time to time.
Authorised user means the authorized user of a geographical indication.
- What does NOT qualify for GI
- The use of which is likely to cause confusion or deception
- The use of which would be contrary to law
- Which comprises or contains scandalous or obscene matters
- Which comprises or contains any matter likely to hurt the religious susceptibilities of any class of sections of citizens of India
- Which would otherwise be disentitled in the court of law
- Which are determined to be generic names
- Which are determined to be indication to goods
- Cease to be protected in the country of origin
- Fallen into disuse in the country of origin
- False representation of goods to originate from another country
- Any person aggrieved by an order or decision of the Registrar under this Act, or the rules made there under, may prefer an appeal to the Appellate Board within three months from the date on which the order or decision sought to be appealed.
- An appeal to the Appellate Board shall be in the prescribed form and shall be verified in the prescribed manner and shall be accompanied by a copy of the order or decision appealed against and such fees as may be prescribed.
- Registration of GI is not compulsory in India.
If registered, it will afford better legal protection to facilitate an action for infringement. Once a GI is registered in India, it becomes relatively easier to seek protection in other countries, particularly the member countries of WTO.
Most Famous cases of GI are DARJEELING TEA, BASMATI RICE, Nagpur orange