Geographical Indication


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What is Geographical Indication?

  1. It is an indication.
  2. It originates from a definite geographical territory.
  3. It is used to identify agricultural, natural or manufactured goods.
  4. The manufactured goods should be produced or processed or prepared in that territory.
  5. It should have a special quality or reputation or other characteristics


What do we mean by GI or Geographical Indiacation?

The Geographical Indications Act affords protection to goods that can be identified as originating or manufactured in the territory of a country or a region or locality in that territory where a given quantity, reputation or other characteristic of such goods is essentially attributable to its geographical conditions. In the case where such goods are manufactured goods, one of the activities of production or of processing or preparation at goods concerned takes place in such territory or locality as the case may be. The term is initially for a period of 10 years and can be renewed from time to time.

What protection I get?

Geographical names and other terms associating a product with a
particular place have great commercial importance for the consumer,
who often makes choices on the basis of such indications. Therefore
national, international and community jurisdictions provide for
the protection of geographical indications and designations of origin.

What is the concept of INDICATION AND ORIGIN?

Specific legal acts vary in their definition of the terms “geographical
indications and designations of origin”. According to the provisions
of the TRIPS Agreement, “geographical indications” are
indications that identify a product as originating from the territory
of a State that is party to the Agreement, or from a region or from
a place located in the territory, if a specific quality, reputation,
or other characteristics of the product is essentially attributable
to its geographical origin. Under Council Regulation (EC) No 510/2006

  1. designation of origin” (named as PDO) means the name of
    a region, a specific place or, in exceptional cases, a country,
    used to describe an agricultural product or a foodstuff:
  2. originating in that region, specific place or country,
  3. The quality or characteristics of which are essentially or
    exclusively due to a particular geographical environment with
    its inherent natural and human factors, and
  4. The production, processing and preparation of which take place
    in the defined geographical area;
  5. “geographical indication” (named as PGI) means the
    name of a region, a specific place or, in exceptional cases, a
    country, used to describe an agricultural product or a foodstuff:
  6. Originating in that region, specific place or country, and
  7. Which possesses a specific quality, reputation or other characteristics
    attributable to that geographical origin, and
  8. The production and/or processing and/or preparation of which
    take place in the defined geographical area.


Who are protected under Geographical Indication?

Geographical indications and designations of origin protect:

  1. The interests of entrepreneurs who offer goods that bear marks
    indicating which geographical region they come from,
  2. Consumers from being mislead as to the origin of goods and
    their quality (their attributes and characteristics).


Regulation 510/2006 protects geographical indications and designations
of origin that mark agricultural products and foodstuffs. The indications
which are used on industrial products and services are protected
by the Paris Convention, the TRIPS Agreement and national legislations.

What is legal protection?

Under Regulation 510/2006, designations of origin are protectable
when all stages of making a product (an agricultural product or
a foodstuff) take place in one and the same geographical area to
which the indication pertains.

Geographical indications enjoy protection when at least one stage
of production of the product takes place in the territory concerned.

It is also possible to protect so-called “indirect geographical
indications of origin”, i.e. traditional (geographical or non-geographical)
names indicating that products originate from a particular region
or a specific place, under the condition that they fulfil the requirements
foreseen to PDO or PGI.

Who can apply?

Under Regulation 510/2006, the following are entitled to apply
for a registration of a geographical indication or a designation
of origin:

  1. Any association (irrespective of its legal form or composition)
    of producers or processors working with the same agricultural
    product or foodstuff,
  2. Natural or legal persons (in exceptional cases).


Designations of origin and geographical indications are protectable
if they have been entered in the register of protected designations
of origin and protected geographical indications. The register is
maintained by the European Commission

Procedure for registration of GI

Under Regulation 510/2006, there are usually two stages in the
registration procedure, namely:

  1. The procedure before an authorized national body (bodies) of
    an EU Member State (which is used when the application concerns
    a geographical area located in the specific Member State) and
  2. The procedure before the European Commission.


If the application concerns a geographical area located in a country
which is not an EU Member State, it is forwarded to the Commission
directly or through competent authorities.

If the application is admissible, protection is granted for a geographical
indication or a designation of origin.
A refusal to register by the European Commission can be appealed
before the European Court of Justice.

Who can use GI?

A registered geographical indication or designation of origin may
be used by any member of marketing agricultural product or foodstuffs
conforming to the corresponding specification. It includes among
others: a product or foodstuff description (eg. the raw materials),
a definition of the geographical area, evidence that the agricultural
product or the foodstuff originates in the defined geographical
area, a description of the production method.

These members enjoy an exclusive right to the designation or indication.
Producers and their products are subject to control by appropriate
bodies verifying that the products comply with the requirements
set in the specification

Community protection of geographical indication and/ or designation
of origin prevent national protection. Under Regulation 510/2006,
where a designation of origin or geographical indication has been
entered into the Register of Protected Designations of Origin and
Protected Geographical Indications (Community protection), the designation
or geographical indication cannot be simultaneously protected by
national law.

Protection of geographical indication and/ or designation of origin
of wines and spirits: Special regulations apply to geographical
indication and designation of origin of wines and spirits. Therefore,
the rules of protection specified in Regulation 510/2006 do not
apply to the protection of such marks. The law for the method of
marking and protecting quality wines, table wines with geographical
indications and wines marked with the v.q.p.r.d. acronym is laid
down in Council Regulation (EC) No 1493/1999 of 17 May 1999 on the
common organization of the market in wine.

Members of the TRIPS Agreement (including the EU) should guarantee
legal measures to prevent the use of geographical indications for
wines and spirits that do not originate from places to which the
respective geographical indications pertain. This obligation exists
– as a rule – even if the true origin of the goods is indicated
or the geographical indication is used in translation, or is accompanied
by an expression like “a kind of”, “a type of”,
“quality of”, etc. However, the TRIPS Agreement provides
numerous exceptions to this rule.

What is registration process?

STEP 1 : Filing of application

Please check whether the indication comes within the ambit of the
definition of a Gl under section 2(1)(e).

The association of persons or producers or any organization or
authority should represent the interest of producers of the concerned
goods and should file an affidavit how the applicant claims to represent
their interest.

  1. Application must be made in triplicate.
  2. The application shall be signed by the applicant or his agent
    and must be accompanied by a statement of case.
  3. Details of the special characteristics and how those standards
    are maintained.
  4. Three certified copies of the map of the region to which the
    GI relates.
  5. Details of the inspection structure if any to regulate the
    use of the GI in the territory to which it relates.
  6. Give details of all the applicant together with address. If
    there is a large number of producers a collective reference to
    all the producers of the goods may be made in the application
    and the G.I., If registered will be indicated accordingly in the


The applicant must have an address for service in India. Generally,
application can be filed by (1) a legal practitioner (2) a registered

STEP 2 and 3: Preliminary scrutiny and examination

  1. The Examiner will scrutinize the application for any deficiencies.
  2. The applicant should within one month of the communication
    in this regard, remedy the same.
  3. The content of statement of case is assessed by a consultative
    group of experts will versed on the subject.
  4. The will ascertain the correctness of particulars furnished.
  5. Thereafter an Examination Report would be issued.


STEP 4: Show cause notice

  1. If the Registrar has any objection to the application, he will
    communicate such objection.
  2. The applicant must respond within two months or apply for a
  3. The decision will be duly communicated. If the applicant wishes
    to appeal, he may within one month make a request.
  4. The Registrar is also empowered to withdraw an application,
    if it is accepted in error, after giving on opportunity of being


STEP 5: Publication in the geographical indications Journal

Every application, within three moths of acceptance shall be published
in the Geographical Indications Journal.

STEP 6: Opposition to Registration

  1. Any person can file a notice of opposition within three months
    (extendable by another month on request which has to be filed
    before three months) opposing the GI application published in
    the Journal.
  2. The registrar shall serve a copy of the notice on the applicant.
  3. Within two months the applicant shall sent a copy of the counterstatement.
  4. If he does not do this be shall be deemed to have abandoned
    his application. Where the counter-statement has been filed, the
    registrar shall serve a copy on the person giving the notice of
  5. Thereafter, both sides will lead their respective evidences
    by way of affidavit and supporting documents.
  6. A date for hearing of the case will be fixed thereafter.


STEP 7: Registration

  1. Where an application for a GI has been accepted, the registrar
    shall register the geographical indication. If registered the
    date of filing of the application shall be deemed to be the date
    of registration.
  2. The registrar shall issue to the applicant a certificate with
    the seal of the Geographical indications registry.


STEP 8: Renewal

A registered GI shall be valid for 10 years and can be renewed
on payment of renewal fee.

STEP 9: Additional protection to notified goods

Additional protection for notified goods is provided in the Act.

STEP 10: Appeal

Any person aggrieved by an order or decision may prefer an appeal
to the intellectual property appellate board (IPAB) within three
months. The address of the IPAB is as follows:

Intellectual Property Appellate Board
Annexe 1, 2 nd Floor, Guna Complex,
443, Anna Salai, Chennai – 600 018

What Indications are not registrable ?

For registrability, the indications must fall within the scope
of section 2(1)e of GI Act, 1999. Being so, it has to also satisfy
the provisions of section 9, which prohibits registration of a Geographical

  1. the use of which would be likely to deceive or cause confusion;
  2. the use of which would be contrary to any law for the time
    being in force; or
  3. which comprises or contains scandalous or obscene matter; or
  4. which comprises or contains any matter likely to hurt the time
    being in force; religious susceptibilities of any class or section
    of the citizens of India; or
  5. which would otherwise be disentitled to protection in a court;
  6. which are determined to be generic names or indications of
    goods and are, therefore, not or ceased to be protected in their
    country of origin or which have fallen into disuse in that country;
  7. 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.


Explanation 1 to section 9 says that for the purposes of this section,
“generic names of indications” in relation to goods
which although relates to the place of the region where the goods
was originally produced or manufactured, has lost its original meaning
and has become the common name of such goods and serves as a designation
for an indication of the kind, nature, type of other property or
characteristic of the goods.

Explanation 2 further says a that “in determining whether
the name has become generic, account shall be taken of all factors
including the existing situation in the region or place in which
the name originates and the area of consumption of the goods.”

Additional protection to certain goods

  1. An application may be made to the registrar in respect of goods
    notified by the central Government for additional protection for
    a registered geographical indication in Form GI-9 accompanied
    in triplicate along with a statement of case and shall be accompanied
    with the copy of the notification issued.
  2. The application shall be made jointly by the registered proprietor
    of the Geographical indications in India and by all the producers
    of the Geographical indication.
  1. The Affidavits required by the Act and the rules to be filed
    at the Geographical indications Registry or furnished to the Registrar,
    unless otherwise provided in the matter or matters to which they
    relate, paragraphs consecutively numbered, and each paragraph
    shall as far as practicable be confined to one subject. Every
    affidavit shall state the description and the true place of abode
    of the person filing it and shall state on whose behalf it is
  2. Affidavits shall be taken-

    a.In India-before any court or person having by law authority
    to receive evidence, or before any officer empowered by such
    court as aforesaid to administer oaths or to take affidavit, any country or place outside India before a diplomatic
    or consular Officers (Oaths and Fee) Act, 1948, or such country
    or place, or before a notary public or before a judge or magistrate
    of the country or place.

  3. Where the deponent is illiterate blind or unacquainted with
    the language in which the affidavit is written a certificate by
    the person taking the affidavit that the affidavit has read translated
    or explained in his presence to the deponent made his signature
    or mark in his presence shall appear in the jurat.
  4. Every affidavit filed before the Registrar in connection with
    any of the proceedings under the Act or the rules shall be duly
    stamped under the law for the time being in force.
    Inspection of Documents by the Public
  5. 1. The documents mentioned in sub-section (1) of section 78
    shall be available for inspection at the Head Office of the Geographical
    indications registry.
    2. A copy of the register and such of the other documents mentioned
    in section 78, as the Central Government may by inspection at
    each branch office of the Geographical Indications Registry as
    and when established.
    3. The inspection shall be an payment of the prescribed free and
    at such times on all the days on which the offices of the Geographical
    Indications Registry are not closed to the public as may be fixed
    by the registrar.
    4. Distribution of copies of journal and other documents. The
    Central Government may direct the Registrar
    to distribute the necessary to such places as may be fixed by
    the Central Government in consultation with the State Government
    and notified form time to time in the Official Gazette.
    The above information is also available on official website of
    Government of India.