Any noun or adjective (need not necessarily be a geographical name) that designates geographical location and would tend to be regarded by buyers as descriptive of the geographical location of origin of goods.
Geographical Indications Protection Given To : indications which identify goods as originating from/manufactured in a particular territory where a given quality, reputation or other characteristics of the goods is essentially attributable to that region
Objective : Customers must not be misled Marking must not mislead No Dilution Economic prosperity
Features Of A G I Statute : No individual ownership Ownership by association of persons Registration Validity : 10 years No assignment , licensing or mortgage Unauthorised use has Civil / Criminal liab. Currently no specific Law in Force
Instrument of Rural Development - promotion of products having certain characteristics could be of considerable benefit to the rural economy, in particular to less-favored or remote areas, by improving the incomes of farmers and by retaining the rural population in these areas (EC Regulation 2081/92) – e.g. Italian Tuscan Olive Oil sold at premium ever since its registration in 1998.
Differentiation of products can lead to:
Increase in prices of the protected products
Allows genuine producers to capture the rents, entry barriers for “fakes”
More Antiguan Coffee and Darjeeling Tea sold than produced - shows large market for genuine products .
Issue is whether the framework is appropriate for developing countries.
GIs can be granted to a corporation, a voluntary association etc 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.
GIs protect and reward traditions while allowing for products to evolve over time
GIs can be protected over long periods as long as the collective tradition is maintained –
Indian Act protects GIs for an initial period of 10 years, which can be renewed after the expiry of the initial period of protection for another 10 years
GIs would cease to be on the register if not renewed six months after the expiration of the last registration
Registry maintains a Register of GI which is divided in to two parts, Part A and Part B. Part A contains details of distinguishing characteristics of the goods and of the registered proprietor which would be an association of persons or producers or a body representing interest of such producers like for instance the Tea Board, Coffee Board, Spices Board etc. To include all producers a collective reference may be made in the application.
Part B contains particulars of ‘authorised users’ of GI such as those producers (traders and dealers) who have not been included in the original application for registration. (this provision included due to socio economic factors)
The use of which would be likely to deceive or cause confusion; or
The use of which would be contrary to any law for the time being in force;or
which comprises or contains scandalous or obscene matter; or
which comprises or contains any matter likely to hurt the religious susceptibilities of any class or section of the citizens of India; or
which would otherwise be disentitled to protection in a court; or
which are determined to generic names or indications of goods and are, therefore, not or ceases to be protected in their country of origin, or which have fallen in to disuse in that country; or
which, although literally true as to the territory, region or locality in which the goods originate, but falsely represent to the persons that the goods originate in another territory, region or locality, as the case may be.
The Act provides that once the GI is registered, an infringement action can be initiated both by the registered proprietor and by authorised users whose names have been entered on the Register.
A registered GI is infringed by a person who not being an authorised user, uses such GI by any means in the designation or presentation that indicates or suggests that such goods originates in a geographical area other than the true place of origin of such goods in a misleading manner or uses a GI which constitutes an act of Unfair competition (Act explains it as dishonest practices).