What is a Geographical Indication (“GI”)? Procedure of GI registration?

Intellectual property is currently understood as a strategic asset of the countries, but not every modality or subcategory it features, is well known. Geographical indications are mechanisms of intellectual property applicable to goods and services characterized by the place where they originated (collected, produced or manufactured), involving environmental, historical, social and cultural specificities.

Geographical Indications,” (“GIs”) are defined, under Section 2(e), of The Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999 (GI Act), as –

“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 or preparation of the goods concerned takes place in such territory, region or locality, as the case may be.”

It is also defined under Article 22(1) of the TRIPS Agreement, as “indications which identify a good as originating in the territory of a Member, or a region or locality in that territory, where a given quality, reputation or other characteristic of the good is essentially attributable to its geographic origin.”

Geographical indications are valuable to producers from particular regions for the same reasons as a  trademarks is valuable. First, they are source identifiers as they identify goods as originating in a particular territory, or a region or locality in that territory. Geographical indications are also indicators of the quality to  let their consumers know that the goods come from an area where a given quality, reputation or other characteristic of the goods is essentially attributable to their geographic origin.

In India some of the examples of geographical indications are:

  • Basmati Rice
  • Darjeeling Tea
  • Kanchipuram Silk Saree
  • Kolhapuri Chappal
  • Bikaneri Bhujia
  • Agra Petha

Registration of a GI is not compulsory however the Registration of a GI has the following benefits:

  1. Legal protection: Registration of GI enables the Intellectual Property holder to secure protection against infringement of the registered GI.
  2. Exclusive rights: Registration prevents unauthorized use of a registered GI by others and assures security of rights of individuals.
  3. High Demand of the product:Registration also boosts the exports of the registered GI products since they receive their individual identification globally and on every legal platform. It also invites media coverage.
  4. Economic Growth:Registration of GI also promotes economic prosperity of the producers of goods for the goods produced in that particular geographical territory.

PROCEDURE FOR REGISTRATION OF GEOGRAPHICAL INDICATIONS

  1. Filing of Application

Application must be made in the from prescribed form. A single application can be filed for different classes of goods.

The application must contain how the proposed geographical indication designates the goods as originating from the concerned territory or region in respect to the quality, reputation, characteristics and class of goods to which the GI shall apply.

 

  1. Scrutiny and Examination

The application made shall be scrutinized and examined by the Examiner for any deficiencies. Any discrepancy shall be rectified by the applicant within one month of its communication. This examination ascertains the correctness of the particulars mentioned in the application. After the examination, the examination report is furnished by the examiner.

 

  1. Show cause notice

Any objection by the registrar with respect to the application shall be made to the applicant and within a period of two months the applicant is required to reply to the notice.  If the applicant fails to present himself within the prescribed period then the registrar has the power to withdraw the application after giving the applicant reasonable opportunities of being heard.

  1. Publication

After acceptance of the application it is duly published in the Geographical Indications Journal within three months of its acceptance.

 

  1. Opposition to Registration

After the publication of the GI in the Journal, the application is open to opposition by the general public. If the application is opposed, then the registrar shall serve a copy of notice to the applicant. Within two months of receiving the notice, the applicant is required to submit his reply to the notice. If the applicant fails to submits his reply within the prescribed period then it shall be deemed that the applicant has withdrawn the application.

If the applicant submits his reply then the registrar shall be serve a copy of the reply on the person making the opposition.

 

  1. Registration

If the application is accepted by the registrar then the registrar shall register the Geographical indication. On registration the date of filing of the application shall be deemed to be the date of registration. On successful registration the registrar shall a issue a certificate of registration to the applicant. A Geographical indications is registered for a term of 10 years and can be renewed on payment of renewal fees.

 

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