Geographical indications are any indicators that describe commodities as originating in the territory of a country or an area or location within that territory, provided that a particular quality reputation or other features of the product are related to its geographical origin. This implies that geographical indicators must show that a product of a certain origin has a certain quality, reputation, or other attributes that are primarily related to its geographical origin. Geographical indications are classified as intellectual property under the TRIPS Agreement (“IP”). According to Article 22(1) of the TRIPS Agreement, “Geographical Indications” (“GIs”) are “indications which identify a good as originating in the territory of a member, or a region or locality within that territory, where a given quality, reputation, or another characteristic of the good is essentially attributable to its geographic origin.”
A GI can be used by any manufacturer who satisfies the conditions stipulated by the GI owner. In the United States, the owner of a GI can be any legal body, such as a government, a production association, or even an individual.
What Is a Trademark and How Is It Distinct From a GI?
According to Section 2(zb) of the Trade Marks Act of 1999, “trade mark” implies a mark capable of being expressed graphically and capable of identifying one person’s products or services from those of another, and may include a form of items, packaging, and colour combination.” A trademark is essentially a sign that is exclusive to a person, corporation, or commodity. This sign may distinguish itself from other items or people. Nike’s trademark, for example, is a tick. The average person, and even the authorities, identify that specific tick with Nike. A trademark can be connected with items, corporations, etc., but a GI can only be related to people.
How to Register a Good as GI:
Types of Applications:
- Ordinary – For the registration of a GI in India.
- Convention – The registration of a geographical indication (GI) that is already recognized in another nation.
- Single Class – The registration of items that belong to a single class of goods.
- Multi-Class – The registration of items from various classes.
- The GI tag registration procedure begins with the submission of an application. The Geographical Indications Registry requires “applications must be submitted in triplicate.”
- The applicants may be the producer(s) of the particular commodities, or any organization or entity authorized to serve as the producer’s agent (s).
- The application must be submitted to the GI registry in Chennai.
- The application must include all pertinent information, such as
- The “main place of business,” as specified in Section 3 of the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Rules, 2002.
- The allegations are supported by historical evidence.
- A thorough explanation of the product and its use.
- The manufacturing processes.
- Other pertinent information for assessing the good’s GI status.
- The application will be reviewed by the Registry and a team of experts that they shall select.
- The applicant will be given one month to correct any mistakes.
- The Registrar also has the authority to revoke the application if the faults are not corrected.
- The Registry will publish the application within three months of its approval if it is accepted.
- Within three months after the GI application’s publication, anybody may register an opposition (an extension can be provided for another month).
After the application is accepted, the date of filing becomes the date of registration. The applicant will be given a certificate bearing the GI registry’s seal. Within three months following the registration of the good, an appeal may be filed with the Intellectual Property Appellate Board.
Section 9 of the Geographical Indication of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999 lists a few exclusions that cannot be registered with the GI Registry. These are the things that –
- It is possible that the people will be misled or deceived.
- Nature may be outrageous.
- Violation of the current legislation.
- Religious sensibilities may be offended.
- Are general, i.e., not unique.
The Legal Aspects of Geographic Indication (GI):
India adopted GI regulations following ratifying the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). As a “single commitment,” all WTO members ratified the TRIPS agreement. For the WTO, a single endeavor essentially entails a contract that each member state signs.
The TRIPS agreement establishes a minimum level of protection for items registered as a GI, which is expected to be observed by all World Trade Organization members (WTO). According to Article 22 (2)(b) of the agreement, the goal of granting GI status to commodities is to avoid “unfair competition” and misinformation regarding a good’s geographical origins Article 22 (2)(a).
Article 22 of the TRIPS Agreement (agreement), adopted in 1994, was criticized for not being broad enough to include all items. Wines and spirits have particular protection under Article 23.
According to Section 58(1) of the GI Act, every matter in which the validity of a geographical indication’s registration is challenged falls under the jurisdiction of the Intellectual Property Appellate Board.
Furthermore, Section 66 (1)(c) of the GI Act grants authority to “any court inferior to a district court possessing jurisdiction to try the complaint” to hear claims of infringement. Section 67 of the GI Act stipulates that at the judge’s discretion, injunctions, nominal damages, and profits damages may be issued.
According to Section 55 of the Act, “no suit or other legal proceedings will lie against any person in respect of anything done or intended to be done in furtherance of this Act in good faith.”
India is a country with many different cultures and products. Many of the products are locally distinctive, although not all are given the Geographical Indication designation. The TRIPS agreement has come under fire since it does not grant other commodities the same level of protection as wine and spirits.
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