A geographical indication (GI) is a mark found on products from a specific place, reflecting unique qualities tied to that location. For a sign to be a GI, it must identify a product as originating from a particular area, with its distinct qualities largely owed to that specific place. As the product's characteristics are linked to where it's made, there's a strong association between the item and its place of origin.
Importance of geographical indication:
Geographical indication offers legal protection against misuse within a specific region, safeguarding its authenticity. This designation significantly boosts the economy and elevates product reputation globally, providing identity beyond national borders. Ultimately, it amplifies business prospects.
- The application for registering a Geographic Indicator involves documents, samples, and details identifying the protected geographical sign:
- Name or symbol representing a geographical indication.
- A product associated with this geographical indication.
- Unusual characteristics, quality, or reputation related to the geographical region, known as specific qualities.
- A map displaying the geographical area linked to the indication.
- For foreign origins, documentation proving the protection of the geographical indication in its country of origin.
Procedure for design registration
Step 1: Document the application
The application for registering a geographical indication requires a three-fold submission. The candidate must provide the approved form and statement, as indicated by the candidate alongside GI-1.
Step 2: Starter confirmation and assessment
The application undergoes an initial review by the examiner for any flaws or discrepancies. If identified, the candidate is given a month to rectify these issues upon notification.
Step 3 - Issue Show Cause Notice
The Registrar notifies the candidate if any concerns arise regarding the application. The candidate must respond within two months or request a meeting.
Step 4: Promoting
Once the application is fully accepted or, if subject to conditions, within 90 days of acceptance, it is published in the Geographical Indications Diary.
Step 5: Updates and Updates-
The Registrar may, under specific provisions, rectify any errors in the application before or after acceptance.
Step 6: Register
the Registrar registers the geographical indication. Subsequently, the Registrar issues a certificate, as per Run 55 of Form 02, along with the seal of the Register of Geographical Indications (Registration and Protection) Rules, 2002.
Geographical indication rights grant authorized users the authority to prevent unauthorized use of the indication by a third party whose product doesn't comply with the specified standards. For instance, in areas where the Darjeeling geographical indication is protected, only producers following the defined practices for Darjeeling tea can use the term "Darjeeling" for their tea. However, having a protected geographical indication doesn't prevent others from making a product using the same techniques outlined in the standards for that indication. Safeguarding a geographical indication usually involves acquiring rights over the sign that represents the indication.
Geographical indications are often used for agricultural products, food items, wines and spirits, handicrafts, and industrial goods.
In many specific laws, registrations for geographical indications don't have a fixed time limit. This means that once registered, the protection for a geographical indication remains valid until the registration is cancelled. Geographical indications registered as collective and certification marks typically receive protection for renewable ten-year periods.
The right to use a protected geographical indication belongs to producers in the defined geographical area who meet the specific production conditions for the product.
If a geographical term is used to describe a type of product rather than indicating its origin, it no longer functions as a geographical indication.
The Geographical Indications of Products (Registration and Protection) Act specifies imprisonment for a period of six months to three years and a fine ranging from 50,000 to two lakh rupees for GI infringement.