Having a wide range of applications in Intellectual Property (IP) regimes of several countries worldwide, Geographical Indication (GI) is a sign, symbol, or name used on products to indicate that they have originated from a specific geographical locality and possess qualities, characteristics, and reputation attributable to their origin. GI not just functions as quality marks that improve export markets and revenues but also provides a precise source of origin. In this way, it prevents unauthorized users or manufacturers from manufacturing and selling fake products, i.e., products that don’t meet the applicable standards in regards to that origin. For instance, as Darjeeling tea holds a GI tag, its producers have a complete right to prevent the use of the term Darjeeling for the tea products, which are either not produced as per the standards set by the GI law or not grown in their jurisdictions. Though geographical indication protection doesn’t provide the right to prevent others from using the same technique or procedure to manufacture products similar to those that have been granted GI tags, yet it is beneficial in protecting unauthorized use of sign, symbol, or a name that constitutes indication.
Now, if we talk about the designation of origin, it refers to a special kind of protection and implies exclusive or essential natural and human factors of the geographical environment leading to specific characteristics and quality of products and services. It grants protection to the names or signs indicating that a product or service originates from a specific geographical region.
Why Should Geographical Indications and Designation of Origin be protected?
Protection of GIs and designation of origin under the Intellectual Property Law is crucial to evade unauthorized use and infringement. Prevention of such unlawful use will ultimately contribute to increasing the commercial value and reputation of the products and services. Moreover, it also benefits the general public and consumers. For instance, by promoting good business practices and fair market competition, protected GIs will help the customers to buy the precise products. Furthermore, by retaining the active workforce and stimulating family farms, especially in rural areas for developing specific and traditional products and services, the protection of these signs is favorable to economic development as well.
How Should the Protection of Geographical Indications be granted?
The protection of GIs under IP should be granted through a relevant registration procedure. GIs are often protected under national laws and following a wide range of concepts, like laws for the protection of certification marks, laws against unfair competition, consumer protection laws, or special laws for the protection of geographical indications or designations of origin. The Geographical Indication Protection provides the owner with the right to prevent third parties from using the authorized indication on or for the products or services that do not conform to the applicable standards and can be obtained by acquiring right over the sign or name that constitutes the indication. Once registered, the GI and designation of origin may be used collectively by any of the producers (who meet the requirements) from the specific locality.
Contrary to other sorts of Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) like a trademark, patent, Industrial Design, and more, the legal systems taking care of this field may differ from state to state. One other considerable fact about geographical indication or designation of origin is that these are often used with producers’ sign or logo that can be protected under trademark with a perspective to focus on the individual character and common characteristics of products’ origin.
Protection of GI tags and designation of origin not just prohibits infringement issues but also builds a remarkable reputation worldwide. It then motivates the consumers to buy the GI products, along with visiting the regions where these commodities are being produced or made, and that ultimately benefit both the producers and nations by enhancing the tourism of those areas. For more visit: https://www.trademarkmaldives.com
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