Geographical Indications (or GI) are granted to identify products that bear a close association with the region or a specific geographical area, where they are found/originated/manufactured.
The protection is granted to the undertakings and establishments located in that particular area and may use the 'geographical indication' on the exclusive goods produced in such area. This allows the owners of GI to take prompt action against any potential or real violation of a registered Geographical Indication.
We have expertise in taking action against parties violating the registered Geographical Indications. We also provide legal advice against civil and criminal proceedings.
Our Attorneys handle Geographical Indication filings for agricultural products, industrial products, hand-crafted goods, food and other items of consumption.
Geographical Indications FAQ's
GI is an indication, originating from a definite geographical territory. It is used to identify agricultural, natural or manufactured goods produced, processed or prepared in that particular territory due to which the product has special quality, reputation and/or other characteristics.
Registration of a GI is not compulsory. Registration of a GI has the following benefits:
- Legal protection: This enables to IP holder to secure protection against infringement of the registered GI;
- Exclusive rights: Prevents unauthorised use of a registered GI by others and assures safety of individuality;
- Demand: Boosts exports of the registered GI products since they receive their individual identification on every legal platform and also invite media coverage;
- Economic Growth: Promotes economic prosperity of producers of goods produced in a geographical territory.
The list of the registered GIs in India is published by the Geographical Indications Registry and can be accessed here.
A GI is not registrable in the following situations:
- use of which would be likely to deceive or cause confusion;
- use of which would be contrary to any law for the time being in force;
- comprises or contains scandalous or obscene matter;
- comprises or contains any matter likely to hurt the religious susceptibilities of any class or sections of the citizens of India;
- which would otherwise be disentitled to protection in court;
- which are determined to be generic names or indication of goods;
- 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.
Any association of persons, producers, organisation or authority established by or under the law can be a registered proprietor; and their name should be entered in the Register of GI as registered proprietor for the GI.
An Authorised User has the exclusive rights to the use of GI in relation to goods in respect of which it is registered.
An authorised user of GI is a producer of goods in respect of a registered GI. An authorised user should apply in writing in the prescribed form along with prescribed fee.
The persons dealing with three categories of goods are covered under the term Producer:
- Agricultural Goods includes the production, processing, trading or dealing;
- Natural Goods includes exploiting, trading or dealing;
- Handicrafts or Industrial goods includes making, manufacturing, trading or dealing.
The registration of a GI is valid for a period of 10 years. The registered GI can be renewed for every 10 years on the payment of prescribed renewal fee.
If a registered GI is not renewed it is liable to be removed from the register.
A GI is infringed in the following situations:
- Unauthorised use: when an unauthorised party uses a GI indicating or suggesting origination of the same other than the true place of origin of such goods, in a manner which may mislead the public;
- Passing off: when the use of GI results in an unfair competition including passing off in respect of registered GI;
- False representation: when the use of another GI results in false representation to the public that the goods originate in a territory in respect of which a registered GI relates
The Registered Proprietor or an Authorised User of a registered GI can initiate an infringement action.
The Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act 1999, provides for a sentence of imprisonment for a term between 6 months to 3 years and a fine varying from Rupees Fifty Thousand (INR 0.05 million) to Rupees Two Lakhs (INR 0.2 million) in case of GI infringement.
No, a GI is a public property belonging to the producers of the concerned goods. Therefore, it is not a subject matter of assignment, transmission, licensing, pledge, mortgage or such other agreement. However, when an Authorised User dies, his right devolves on his successor in title.
Yes, the Appellate Board or the Registrar of GI has the power to remove the GI or an Authorised User from the register. Further, on application by an aggrieved person action can be taken.
A Trademark is a sign which is used in the course of trade and it distinguishes goods or services of one enterprise from those of other enterprises, whereas a GI is an indication used to identify goods having special characteristics originating from a definite geographical territory.
Any association of persons, producers, organisation or authority established by or under the law can apply for registration of a GI, provided:
- Applicant must represent the interest of the producers;
- application should be in writing in the prescribed form;
- application should be addressed to the Registrar of Geographical Indications along with prescribed fee.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.