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The Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 2000

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Introduction

Geographical indications (GIs) are marks, signs, or symbols that indicate that the items with which they are associated:

  • originate in a certain geographical region or country;
  • Traditional knowledge or procedures from a certain geographical location of a country are used to create them; and
  • Have distinct characteristics, qualities, and reputations that may be traced back to a single geographic place or country.

Many countries have enacted Geographical Indications (GI) legislation to preserve indigenous products, such as handicrafts and agricultural, natural, horticultural, and industrial products that are unique to a particular region.

A geographical indication is defined as “signs that originate in a member or identify a good place in a region or locality where a particular quality, reputation, or specialty is attributed to its geographical location is given is fundamentally acceptable” according to Article 22 of the TRIPS Agreements.

As a response, India was incorporated as a member state of the Sui-Generis law for the protection of geographical indications in 1999, when the TRIPS Agreement was ratified. The Geographical Indicators Goods (Registration and Protection) Act of 1999 has three objectives:

  • By enacting specific rules in the country managing the geographical indication of goods, which can sufficiently protect the interests of the goods’ producers,
  • To prevent unauthorized individuals from abusing geographical signals and to safeguard consumers from fraud.
  • Promoting geographically bearing Indian commodities on the international market.

Geographical Indications’ Advantages

Organizations or businesses that register their geographical indicators benefit from a variety of benefits, including:

  1. During the business, registered geographical indicators have exclusive access to and usage of G.I.’s products.
  2. Authorized users have the legal right to sue for infringement.
  3. It gives geographical indications legal protection in India.
  4. Prevents others from using registered geographical indicators without permission.
  5. It gives Indian geographical signals legal protection, which encourages exports.
  6. It fosters the economic well-being of producers of commodities made in a certain geographic area.
  7. In addition, a registered owner can seek legal protection in other WTO member countries.
  8. It gives the appropriate goods legal protection in both domestic and foreign markets.

Subjects which are not registerable under GI

The indications must fall within the scope of Section 2(1) of the Geographical Indication Act, 1999 in order to be registered. When this occurs, it must also comply with Section 9, which forbids the registration of a geographical indicator.

  • Which would produce ambiguity or ambiguity if used; or
  • Which shall be in violation of any law at the time it is enacted; or
  • Which contains or contains libelous or obscene material; or
  • At any time, which is likely to entail or inflict force injury; sensitivity to religion of any class or class of Indian residents; or
  • That otherwise would have been destroyed for the sake of legal protection; or
  • Those that are considered to represent common names or objects and, as a result, should be kept in their country of origin or are not in use in that country; or
  • This is true as far as the area or locale where the items originate, but it misrepresents the individuals by implying that the goods originate in another area, region, or place.

Who is eligible to register a GI?

Any individual, manufacturer, organization, or body created by or under legislation may apply to register their product’s Geographical Indication.

  1. Producers’ interests should be represented by the Applicant.
  2. The application must be written in the prescribed format and include all detail about the product.
  3. The application, along with the required money for product registration, shall be sent to the Registrar of Geographical Indicators.

Who is considered as an authorized user?

Geographical Indications are owned by the following companies:

  • A registered owner can be a person, a manufacturer, an organization, or an association created by law or regulation.
  • As there are registered owners for the Geographical Indication, their name must be entered in the Register of Geographical Indicators.

The registration process

The Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999 (the GI Act) and the Geographical Indications (Registration and Protection) Rules, 2002 must be used to submit an application for registration of a GI to the Registrar of Geographical Indications (the GI Rules).

A Geographical Indication is certified for a period of ten years, and it can be renewed for another ten years at any time.

Infringement of GI

A person who is not a registered proprietor or authorized user violates a registered geographical indication by using such a sign on products or suggesting that such goods originate in another geographic area, which confuses someone other than the actual place of goods public.Any use that constitutes an act of “unfair competition” is also infringed by a geographical indication of the trademark, full explanation of 1 and 2 of Section 2. (b). This clause aims to give effect to TRIPS Agreement Article 22(2)(b), which requires members to “create legal remedies for interested parties to prevent the use of the Paris Convention’s Article 10.” (1967).A person who is not a registered proprietor or authorized user of a geographical indication for goods who uses another geographical indication for the goods that is actually true as to region or locality from where the goods originated and publicly misrepresents that goods originate in a region or locality to which such registered geographical indicators belong also violates a geographical indication.

The protection of a trademark’s geographical indication must be enforced, according to Article 22 (4) of the TRIPS Agreement, even if the G.I. “is actually true as to the area, region, or location in which the goods are in another territory” is generated.

Conclusion

A registered G.I. tag prevents the holder from using the G.I. mark or name in any product that is similar to or misrepresenting the registered product. It is conceivable.Although it may not be identical to a registered product, it may have a registered name. Since the passage of the TRIPS Agreement, there has been a greater understanding of the importance of proper geographic signal protection for all products.Nations must recognize that the best protection for G.I.s is provided by national laws, not treaty provisions, because it is the real national laws that provide protection in respect to G.I.s.Because it increases the chance of market access for such goods, such protection is a useful marketing tool and adds value to exports. The G.I. tag is required for the creation and maintenance of abstracts and the uniqueness of a product’s essence and attributes. India is not far behind in terms of pursuing intellectual property in a legal manner.

Contributed by:– Nidhi Jha, Legal intern at LLL

 Certification trademarkGeographical IndicationsGIIntellectual PropertyRegistration and Protection

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