Protection of Geographical Indications in UAE

Introduction

Trademarks are normally used by companies to safeguard the Intellectual Property rights of their goods or services from that of other companies. By applying for trademark protection, the businesses can have exclusive rights over their products, thereby preventing rival companies from using them. The geographical indication can be used to protect the products originating from a particular place. The fame and unique quality associated with such products are exclusively due to their place of origin. Darjeeling Tea, ‘Comte Cheese’, and the word ‘Swiss’ indicating ‘Switzerland’ are some of the well-known trademarks with the GI tag.
Products known for a unique feature that is derived from the place of origin requires protection, just like trademarks protect a brand. The Geographical Indication is a much-needed form of Intellectual Property protection as the violation of which becomes detrimental to the consumers. Products that are widely known for their place of origin are highly vulnerable to misrepresentation.

Geographical Indication UAE[Image Source:Gettyimage]

Consider the case of Comte Cheese, the world-renowned French Cheese. Businesses cannot trademark a product named ‘Comte Cheese’ because the milk used to make the cheese must be from French Simmental breeds. The agents and professionals in UAE recommend that the businesses and owners must perform an in-depth search to ensure that the trademarks do not bear any resemblance to any other trademarks that lay claim to Geographical Indication.

The GI tag helps consumers recognize products by the name of a particular geographical area from where it is produced as per certain standards. The name used as a Geographical indication cannot be licensed to anyone from outside that particular area of origin. As opposed to this, a typical trademark consists of an arbitrary sign, symbol, word or logo that identifies a company, and is not linked to a particular geographical area.

‘Geographical indication’, being a type of intellectual property right, is an important aspect of intellectual property. The term ‘Geographical Indication’ refers to a sign which has a specific geographical origin. Such a sign, when used on the goods, indicate that the goods possess a certain quality, reputation, and such other characteristic attributes which belongs to their place of origin.

In order for a ‘GI’ to be applicable to a particular product, the sign affixed to the product must indicate its place of origin thereby indicating its unique quality. ‘Geographical Indication’ as a right is covered under the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property (1883), which is administered by the WIPO and it is also covered under the TRIPS agreement. Under the WIPO, the Standing Committee (SCT) on the Law of Trademarks, Industrial Designs, and Geographical Indications is a forum which discusses and develops policies and laws relating to Geographical Indications.

TRIPS Agreement

Article 22 of the TRIPS Agreement mandates that all of its member nations must come up with their own national laws to protect Geographical Indication.’ This indicates that the protection of Geographical Indication is considered the responsibility of the respective nations. The UAE is a member of the TRIPS Agreement and is committed to the protection of Geographical Indication. Broadly speaking, though several international conventions have laid down the rules relating to the protection of Geographical Indication, it is the concerned Nation’s responsibility to provide for and implement its own set of rules and regulations for the protection of Geographical Indication. The UAE, being a member of the TRIPS Agreement, WTO, and WIPO since April 10, 1996, is devoted to complying with the provisions which regulate the geographical indications and various other aspects of the Intellectual Property Laws.

Rights over Geographical Indications entail the following benefits:

• Right to take legal action against infringement of commodities, goods and services.
• Adds more value to the brand based on geographical indications.
• Contributes to the economic prosperity of the region.
Main Legislations concerning the protection of GIs-
• Federal Law Number 17 of 2009 on the Protection of New Plant Varieties(2010)
• Federal Law Number 31 of 2006 pertaining to the Industrial Regulation and Protection of Patents, Industrial Drawings, and Designs (2002).
• Federal Law Number 7 of 2002 concerning Copyrights and Neighboring Rights (2002).
• Federal Law Number 37 of 1992 on Trademarks (as amended by Law No.19 of 2000 and Law Number 8 of 2002).

The Federal Law Number 8 of 2002, as mentioned above, provides provisions for the protection of Geographical Indication and it states as the following:

“Article (3) – The following shall not be registered as trademarks or as component elements thereof-

(6) Geographical names and data when they would create uncertainty as to the origin or source of the goods, the products or the services.

(8) Marks which are likely to deceive the public or which contain false indications as to the origin or source of the products or the services or as to its characteristics, as well as Marks containing an indication of a fictitious, falsified or counterfeit trade name.”

Therefore, it evident from the above set of legislation that the UAE not only grants protection to patents, copyrights, plant varieties, and industrial designs but also advances protection to ‘Geographical Indications’ as well.

Conclusion

Therefore, the concept of ‘Geographical Indication’ is an instrument for linking the quality of a commodity and its geographical origin. It is pertinent to note that with the current globalization and trade liberalization, Geographical Indication has become a subject matter of great significance. Further, the UAE is able to fully reap the advantages of geographical indications and can grant adequate protection to various goods and commodities from infringement. It is possible to register a trademark that incorporates a geographical indication in the UAE. However, the applicant must provide proof establishing a connection between this particular geographic area and the origin of the products or applicant. Additionally, the Registrar will often require a disclaimer for the GI if it is used alone, and protection will be given to the mark as a whole.

Author: Tanya Saraswat, in case of any queries please contact/write back to us via email to chhavi@khuranaandkhurana.com or at  Khurana & Khurana, Advocates and IP Attorney.

Leave a Reply

Archives

  • December 2022
  • November 2022
  • October 2022
  • September 2022
  • August 2022
  • July 2022
  • June 2022
  • May 2022
  • April 2022
  • March 2022
  • February 2022
  • January 2022
  • December 2021
  • November 2021
  • October 2021
  • September 2021
  • August 2021
  • July 2021
  • June 2021
  • May 2021
  • April 2021
  • March 2021
  • February 2021
  • January 2021
  • December 2020
  • November 2020
  • October 2020
  • September 2020
  • August 2020
  • July 2020
  • June 2020
  • May 2020
  • April 2020
  • March 2020
  • February 2020
  • January 2020
  • December 2019
  • November 2019
  • October 2019
  • September 2019
  • August 2019
  • July 2019
  • June 2019
  • May 2019
  • April 2019
  • March 2019
  • February 2019
  • January 2019
  • December 2018
  • November 2018
  • October 2018
  • September 2018
  • August 2018
  • July 2018
  • June 2018
  • May 2018
  • April 2018
  • March 2018
  • February 2018
  • January 2018
  • December 2017
  • November 2017
  • September 2017
  • August 2017
  • July 2017
  • June 2017
  • May 2017
  • April 2017
  • March 2017
  • February 2017
  • January 2017
  • December 2016
  • November 2016
  • October 2016
  • September 2016
  • August 2016
  • July 2016
  • June 2016
  • May 2016
  • April 2016
  • March 2016
  • February 2016
  • January 2016
  • December 2015
  • November 2015
  • October 2015
  • September 2015
  • August 2015
  • July 2015
  • June 2015
  • May 2015
  • April 2015
  • March 2015
  • February 2015
  • January 2015
  • December 2014
  • November 2014
  • October 2014
  • September 2014
  • August 2014
  • July 2014
  • June 2014
  • May 2014
  • April 2014
  • March 2014
  • February 2014
  • January 2014
  • December 2013
  • November 2013
  • October 2013
  • September 2013
  • August 2013
  • July 2013
  • June 2013
  • May 2013
  • April 2013
  • March 2013
  • February 2013
  • January 2013
  • December 2012
  • November 2012
  • September 2012
  • August 2012
  • July 2012
  • June 2012
  • May 2012
  • April 2012
  • March 2012
  • February 2012
  • January 2012
  • December 2011
  • November 2011
  • October 2011
  • September 2011
  • August 2011
  • July 2011
  • June 2011
  • May 2011
  • April 2011
  • March 2011
  • February 2011
  • January 2011
  • December 2010
  • September 2010
  • July 2010
  • June 2010
  • May 2010
  • April 2010