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MEANING OF GEOGRAPHICAL INDICATION OF GOODS
A geographical indication (commonly referred to as GI) is a name or sign used to indicate the geographical location or origin (e.g. a town, region, or country) of certain products. The use of GI allows the consumer to identify products which have certain qualities, which may be due to the use of certain traditional methods of manufacturing or due to the fact that such products enjoy certain reputation and distinctive features which is essentially attributable to the fact of its origin in that defined geographical locality, region or country.
WHTHER TRADE MARK AND GEOGRAPHICAL INDICATION (GI) IS ONE AND SAME?
A Geographical Indication is an indication used to identify goods having special characteris-tics originating from a definite geographical territory. Whereas a trade mark is a sign which is used in the course of trade and it distinguishes goods or services of one enterprise from those of other enterprises
Certain Examples of GI which are registered in India
Darjeeling Tea, Nagpur Orange, Kashmir Pashmina, Kancheepuram Silk. The entire list of GI's which are registered in India can be obtained from the official website of the Geographi-cal Indications in India.
HOW GI CAN BE REGISTERED?
Any association of persons/producers/organization/authority who are representing the interest of the producers of the concerned goods or products can apply in writing to the Registrar for the registration of the geographical indication in the prescribed format.
Though registration of a geographical indication is not compulsory, registration affords better legal protection and allows the registered proprietor or any authorized user to initiate in-fringement actions.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF REGISTRATION?
It grants legal protection to Geographical Indications in India;
Registering GI's prevents unwarranted use and dilution of a Registered Geographical Indica-tion by others;
Registering a GI provides legal protection/security the consumers as well and also protects the interest of the producers.
Registering Geographical Indications helps in enhancing exports;
Registering GI's encourages producers of goods in that particular geographical territory Authorized User
The geographical indication so registered can by an authorized user who has to apply in writing before the Registrar in the manner prescribed along with requisite fees.
WHAT IS TERM OF VALIDITY OF GEOGRAPHICAL INDICATION?
Registration of Geographical Indication is for a period of ten years but may be renewed from time to time by payment of adequate fees. In the event a Geographical Indication is not re-newed it is likely to be removed from the register.
WHAT ARE REMEDIES AGAINST THE INFRINGEMENT OF GI?
A registered geographical indication is infringed by any person who, not being the registered proprietor or authorized user, uses such indication on the goods or suggests that such goods originate in some other geographical area other than the true origin of the goods which mislead the public.
The rights holder may either infringement and/or passing off proceedings against an infringer. The infringement proceedings may however be initiated only if the geographical indication has been registered. The court may grant in the case of infringement and/or of passing off grant injunction, and also grant either damages or accounts of profits, delivery-up of the infringing labels and indication for destruction or erasure.
Criminal action is also available in case of violation of geographical indications. The police have the power to suo moto conduct raids and seizure operations. However, before making any search and seizure, the police officer have to obtain the opinion of the Registrar of Geo-graphical Indications on the facts involved in the offence and shall act only upon the opinion that has been obtained.
WHETHER THE GI CAN BE TRANSFERRED/ASSIGNED?
Geographical Indication is a public property belonging exclusively to the producers of the concerned goods and hence geographical indication cannot be assigned, transmitted, li-censed, pledged, mortgaged or any other such agreement can arise from a registered Geo-graphical Indication.
WHETHER GI CAN BE RECTIFIED OR CANCELLED?
High Court having jurisdiction or the Registrar of Geographical Indications has the power to remove the geographical indication or an authorized user from the register suo moto or on an application made by an aggrieved person