Geographical Indication (GI) has become one of the most debated issues of IPR in the recent past. TRIPS defines GI as any indication that identifies a product as originating from a particular place, where a given quality, reputation or other characteristics of the product are essentially attributable to its geographical origin. A GI is a specific attribution of a product that has a specific geographical origin and possesses characteristics that correspond to that origin. A GI gives exclusive right to a region to use a name for a product with certain characteristics that corresponds to their location. If a GI is registered, it prohibits all third parties to use the GI in such a manner that might imply that the goods originate from that region.
For example, Darjeeling Tea (Word) vide Geographical Indication Registration No. 1 or vide Geographical Indication Registration No. 2 are registered Geographical Indications. Hence, Tea Board, Registered Proprietor of Darjeeling Tea can prohibit any third party from using the term "Darjeeling" for tea that does not grow in their gardens or is not produced according to the standards set out in the code of practice for the registered Geographical Indication.
The Geographical Indications of Goods
The Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999 protect the GI’s in India. Registration of GI is not compulsory in India. If registered, it will afford better legal protection to facilitate an action for infringement.
Any association of persons/producers/organization or authority established by or under any law for the time being in force representing the interests of the producers of the concerned goods, can apply for a GI protection.
The term of a GI protection is 10 years and is renewable from time to time.
Geographical Indications have certain advantages. It relies on prima facie evidence instead of trying to get all the evidence in a passing off action. Also, registration is not mandatory to get protection-passing off remedy is always available.
An application for protection of GI should have the following components mentioned by the applicant:
Section 9 of the GI Act mentions what type of geographical indications will not be registered. Geographical indications whose:
shall not be registered as a GI.
Section 22 of the GI Act talks about infringement. A person, who is not an authorized user, infringes a registered GI when:
The following remedies are available in case of infringement: