What is Geographical Indicator?
A geographical indication (GI) is a sign used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin.
How do we identify Geographical Indicators ?
- In order to function as a Geographical Indicators, A sign must identify a product as originating in a given place.
- The qualities of the product depends on the geographical place of Production and there is clear link between the product and its place of production. Hence, The reputation or characteristics of the product should be necessarily due to the the place of origin.
- Moreover, The Geographical Indications of Goods are defined in terms of the industrial property which may refer the Geographical Indications referring to Country or place of origin of the product. In this way, The Geographical Indications of Goods are defined
- Geographical Indications of Goods Registration & Protection Act, 1999 is enacted from the 15th September, 2003 in India which is member of World Trade Organization (WTO).
History of Geographical Indicators
- From the end of the 19th century, The Government officials have been protecting the Trade names and Trade marks used relevant to food products identified with the specific region.
- Using laws against the fraud trade description which protects against the suggestions that the product has a defined origin when it does not belongs to. Hence the limitation on these geographical indication is justified by government officials either by the consumer protection benefits or by the producer protection benefits.
- Earlier of the 20th century, The first geographical indication is the one used in France known as appellation d’origine contrôlée (AOC) in French. The goods that meet the geographical origin and quality standards may be endorsed with a government issued stamp which act as a official certification of the origin and standards of the product to the consumers. For example, The goods or products that have such ‘appellations of origin’ includes the Gruyere cheese from the Switzerland and many French wines.
- Having the long association of Geographical indications with the concept of terroir and Europe as an entity, There is tradition with the associating food products with the particular regions which represents the history of the Geographical indicators.
- However, The European Union Law officials have the protected designation of framework which enacted in 1992 for the geographical indicators as below :
- Protected designation of origin (PDO)
- Protected geographical indication (PGI)
- Traditional Specialties Guaranteed (TSG).
Geographical Indication law and its effect :
- The protection to geographical indication by law is similar to the protection to trademarks in many countries.
- In Rural community areas, The geographical indications are generally traditional products that have reputation for their qualities.
- Sometimes the geographical indication law must specify that the product meet the quality that are set up by the officials or administrator to allow the use of Indication.
- Geographical indicators are parallel to trade marks (aka Certification marks ) as they must be registered to qualify for the protection and registration.
- In some of the countries that do not recognize the Geographical indicators then regional trade association may implement them in terms of certification marks.
Important points to be noted :
- Geographical indications are located in each and every country but it can vary from country to country as per the identifications of other products such as Foods, Wood, Soft drinks
- Internationally, The Geographical indications recognized by some of the products then there are chances that the product may pass as a genuine one. This kind of attitude misleading the consumers and also create a negative impact.
- To improve the authentication of the Products, European Union has made an efforts to improve the system and protection of the products Geographical indication internationally which includes wine, Beer, Spirits, Agriculture products etc.
- International trade (IT) which Is nothing but exchange between the products, Goods etc between the countries or their borders. International trade (IT) made the important approach to balance the Geographical indications for registration. Eventually the improved legislation this was seen during the Lisbon agreement where almost 9,000 Geographical Indication registration happened by total 28 countries.
- According to WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), The geographical indication for the particular product from where it has originated belongs to the that origin or the place only.
- WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) has set up basic standards articles in 1994 under which the geographical indication has been protected :
- Article 22 :
Under this article, The Geographical Indication for that particular product should be identified by that country only, Considering the government must provide all the legal opportunities or laws for the registered Geographical Indicators which can prevent the fake representation by some other countries.
2. Article 23 :
Under this article, To prevent the unfair competition, The Government must provide the right and abide the law for the owner of the Geographical Indication for the origin of the product. This can’t mislead the people and can have the fair advantage and protection against the Geographical Indicator of the products.
- Both articles have the power to reject the registration of the trade mark of the Geographical indicators If it is misleading or invalid.
3.Article 24 :
- This article says that the geographical indications for the products such as Wine and Spirits are the number of exceptions for the protections of the products.
- There have been criticism going on the negotiation of the article 23. Government argued on articles 23 on its extension will make the protection in international trade. Articles 23 having more definitions than it should have been in its nature.
Hence, The only way to judge the Geographical indication for the product is that whether they are delivering the right value, Quality to the consumers or not and should obey the Governmental laws