Geographical Indications Registration Process In India

Published on 25 Oct 2019 by Shivi

Intellectual Property Rights play an essential role in establishing and protecting the idea, creation, and identity of a business. Most people believe that intellectual property includes only Trademark Copyright and Patent; however, there are other kinds of intellectual properties that can be obtained to protect identity used by a business for its product and services. One of the lesser-known intellectual properties is Geographical Indication of a product. 

What Is Geographical Indication?

Geographical Indication is the sign or name on a product that depicts a specific geographic location of origin of the product. It is an indication that the product has certain particular qualities, such as a traditional method of making or a particular geographical origin. This geographical origin may include a town, region, city, or country.

In India, the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration & Protection) Act, 1999 protect the Geographical Indication of goods. Section 2(1)(e) of the Act defines Geographical Indication as an indication which identifies such goods as agricultural goods, natural goods or manufactured goods as originating, or manufactured in that territory, where a given quality, reputation, or other characteristic of such goods is essentially attributable to its geographical origin and in case where such goods are manufactured goods one of the activities of either the production or of processing or preparation of the goods concerned takes place in such territory, region or locality, as the case may be.

There are more than 600 products that have been added to the GI list in India, including products such as Darjeeling tea, Madhubani paintings, Mysore Silk, Phulkari, Kashmir Pashmina, Thanjavur Art Plate, Feni, Kolhapuri Chappal, Bikaneri Bhujia, etc.

The purpose of the GI tag is that it prevents any person or business from using the name of the product except for the people or businesses registered as authorised users residing within the geographical territory.

Registration Of Geographical Indications In India

The application for registration of Geographical Indications in India can be filed by any Association of persons, producers, organisation or authorities established under the law. When a single applicant files the application for Geographical Indication registration, the person must represent the interest of all the producers of such goods. 

There are three categories of goods for which an application for GI registration in India can be filed: 

  1. Agricultural Good, including the goods for production, processing, trading or dealing.

  2. Natural Goods including the goods for their exploiting, trading or dealing.

  3. Handicrafts or Industrial goods including the goods for their making, manufacturing, trading or dealing.

The registration process for Geographical Indications in India includes the following steps:

Filing The Registration Application

The first step is to fill the application for registration with the Registrar of Geographical Indications. The registration application is supported by different documents that prove the existence of geographical indication. It is suggested to consult an IPR lawyer in India to carefully file and submit the registration application so that there are no errors or omissions.

Examination Of Application

The examiner examines the application for any form of deficiency or errors. If any errors or defects are found, the examiner sends a report to the applicant.

Show Cause Notice

When the Registrar has any objections against the registration of Geographical Indications, the examiner sends show-cause notice to the application. In this situation, the applicant has 60 days to file a reply stating the remedy for the same. It is advised to consult an IPR lawyer to draft the reply to the objection that remedies the objection raised by the Examiner.

ALSO READ: How To Perform A Free Trademark Search Online

Publication In GI Journal

If there are no objections or the objections have been corrected, the application is published in the Geographical Indications Journal within 3 months of acceptance. The application is kept open for any form of opposition from the general public.

Opposition to Registration

Anyone can file a notice of opposition within three months of its publication in the Geographical Indications journal to oppose the application from getting registered. A notice is sent to the registration applicant. Within two months, the applicant is required to send a counter statement to show as to why the Geographical Indication must be registered.

If the applicant fails to send a counter-statement, the application is marked as abandoned. However, when the applicant sends a counter-statement, the registrar serves a copy of the statement to the opposition party. After this step, evidence, by way of affidavit and other supporting documents is collected, and the date of hearing is fixed.

Registration Of Geographical Indication

When there is no opposition, or the applicant has rightfully proved that the GI registration must be granted, the Registrar registers the Geographical Indication and issues a Geographical Indications registration certificate to the applicant.

Time Period And Renewal

Geographical Indication registrations are valid for ten years and can be renewed for another ten years after payment of the renewal fee.

Geographical Indications Which Are Not Registrable

The following kinds of indications are prohibited from registration under the GI Act: 

  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.

  3. Which comprises or contains scandalous or obscene matter,

  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.

  5. Which would otherwise be dismantled 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.

An IPR attorney in India can guide the producers or association of producers regarding the registration of Geographical Indications for their product and handle the complicated legal formalities on their behalf. Consult Legistify’s top IPR experts by giving us a call at 846-883-3013 or send us an email at [email protected]

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