Geographical Indication in relation to goods, means an indication which identifies such goods as agricultural goods, natural goods or manufactured goods as originating, or manufactured in the territory of a country , or a region or locality in that territory, where a given quality, reputation or other characteristics 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 take place in such territory, region or locality, as the case may be.
The Protection of Geographical Indications (GIs) in India is governed by “The Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration & Protection) Act, 1999”. The Geographical Indications Registry for the purposes of registration of GIs, is located in Chennai.
Any association of persons, producers, organization or authority established by or under the law can apply for registration of GIs. The applicant must represent the interest of the producers. Producers are persons dealing with the following three categories of goods:
a. Agricultural Goods includes the production, processing, trading or dealing;
b. Natural Goods includes exploiting, trading or dealing; and
c. Handicrafts or Industrial goods include making, manufacturing, trading or dealing
The application for Registration of GI is filed at the Office of the GI Registry located in Chennai. The application must conform to the various requirements and criteria prescribed under the GI Rules. All the goods have been classified in different classes in accordance with the International Classification of goods for the purposes of registration of Geographical Indications.
Once the Application for Registration of GI is filed at the GI Registry, the Registrar will have the Application examined and may consult a expert group to verify the technical details. Thereafter the Examination report is issued, approximately after 3 months, to which the Applicant replies. On satisfaction, the Registrar accepts the Application which will then be published in the GI journal. If the Applicant does not reply within 2 months, the Application is deemed rejected. The Applicant may appeal within 1 month against decision of the registrar on the reply.
Any person can oppose the registration of geographical indication by giving a notice in writing of opposition to the Registrar within a period of three months from the date of advertisement of the application in the Journal. The Applicant has to send a counter statement to the Registrar within two months from the date of receipt, stating the grounds that he relies on for making the application. Within a period of two months (extendible to three months) from the date of receipt of the counterstatement, the opponent shall submit the evidence in support of his application. Ordinarily, within three months from the date of completion of the evidence, the registrar shall give both the parties one-month notice of hearing. After hearing the parties and considering the evidence the registrar shall consider whether or subject to what limitations the registration shall be granted.
Registration of a GI confers the following rights on the registered proprietor and the authorised users:
The registration of GI is valid for a period of ten years, and may be renewed thereafter from time to time.