To advertise our nation’s distinctive goods and maintain traditional crafts, the government intends to create the Gems of Our Heritage campaign. This would highlight Geographical Indication (GI) items from all over India and encourage the application for GI registration of further products. In addition to increasing the local market’s visibility and potential, the GI tag will expose the state’s traditional produce to a global market.
An indicator is a geographic indication. It comes from a certain geographic region. It is used to identify products with special qualities that come from a certain geographic region. It is used to differentiate between manufactured, natural, and agricultural commodities. The manufactured things need to be created, finished, or prepared there. It ought to be distinct in terms of quality, standing, or some other attribute.
Any group of people, producers, organizations, or authorities created by or operating under the law are eligible to apply. The applicant must speak for the producers’ interests. The applicant should be addressed to the Registrar of Geographical Indications along with prescribed fee. A trademark is anything that uniquely distinguishes your products or services, including words, phrases, symbols, designs, or a combination of these. Customers use it to recognize you in the marketplace and set you apart from your rivals.
The three key Treaties adopted by WIPO to protect geographical indications are Madrid Agreement, Paris Convention, Lisbon Agreement. The primary WTO agreement on the protection of geographic indications is Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights
GEOGRAPHICAL INDICATIONS ACT, 1999
The Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration & Protection) Act, 1999 was passed by India in its capacity as a WTO member, and it became effective in 2003. The GI tag makes sure that the well-known brand name can only be used by people who have registered as authorised users, or at the very least, those who live in the designated geographic area. In 2004–2005, Darjeeling tea was the country of India’s first GI-tagged product. The three key Treaties adopted by WIPO to protect geographical indications are Madrid Agreement, Paris Convention, Lisbon Agreement.
A trademark lets customers know where to get your products or services. Additionally, it gives your brand legal protection. Additionally, it aids in protecting us against fraud and counterfeiting. Both trademarks and service marks are included under the umbrella term “trademark.” A service mark is used for services, whereas a trademark is used for commodities.
Even if you haven’t submitted an application to register your trademark, you are still permitted to use “TM” for products and “SM” for services. Use a ® after your trademark has been registered with us.
The Trademark Act of 1999 and the common law passing off remedies both provide legal protection for trademark rights in India
Prohibition of Registered Geographical Indication as a Trademark
The following are expressly included under Absolute grounds for refusal of registration in Section 9(1)(b) of the Brand Act of 1999, which expressly forbids naming a trademark based on geographic origin.
Prohibition of Registered Geographical Indication as a Trademark is stated in Section 25 of Geographical Indication, 1999. The following grounds may be used to refuse or invalidate the registration of a trademark under Section 3 of the Trademark Act of 1999:
(a)if the use of such geographic indications in the trade mark for such goods is of a nature to confuse or mislead the persons as to the true place of origin of such goods or class or classes of goods; if contains or consists of a geographical indication with respect to the goods or class or classes of goods not originating in the territory of a country, or a region or locality in that territory;
(b) If the geographical indication identifies the items or classes of commodities that have been registered in accordance with subsection (2) of section 22.
According to the decision in Liverpool Electric Cable Co. Ltd., it is clear that the section’s intent is to forbid the registration of trademarks “that designate the geographical origin of the goods or services.” As a result, if the applicant is successful in demonstrating that the subject trademark and subject goods are unrelated and that the public would never be misled into believing that the subject goods originate from the specific geographical location, the section will not be able to be registered.
GIs and trademarks are similar in that they both serve to identify the source of a product. A trademark is the property of a specific business; it identifies that business’s products. All manufacturers in the region designated by the GI share the same GIs. GIs are associated with a locality, while trademarks are not.
Producers can obtain market awareness and, occasionally, a premium price thanks to geographic designations. It has emerged as a crucial resource for specialty marketing. Geographical markers are typically linked to non-financial advantages like the protection of information and community rights.
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