Geographical Indication

Geographical Indication


by Praveen Kaushik

Definition of Geographical location under Intellectual Property Right - Geographical indication is a sign or indication that identifies a product as originating in a given place.  

It states that a particular product belongs to a particular place. 

Present laws - The remedies relating to the infringement of geographical indications are similar to the remedies relating to the infringement of trademark.
Similarly , under the (India) geographical indications of goods (registration and protections) act, 1999, falsification of a geographical indication will carry
a penalty with imprisonment for a term which may not be less than six months
but may extend to three years and with a fine which may not be less than Rs. 50,000 but may extend to Rs. 2,00,000.

Geographical Location (indication) are defined under art 22(1) of the TRIPS agreement, as "indication which identify a good as originating in the territory of a member or a region or locality in the territory where a given quality in the territory or reputation or other characteristic of the goods is essentially attributable to its geographical origin."  

Sec.2(1)(e) of the act, defines Geographical Indication 

I. Registration grant U/S -16.  

II. who can apply -  

 > Any association of persons  


 >Organization, or 

 >Authority established by or under the law can apply.  

Case law - Tea Board of India v. ITC Ltd   

The Tea Board of India filed a suit for trademark infringement against ITC Ltd. for using the name “Darjeeling” at one of its refreshment lounges, namely, “Darjeeling Lounge” at its Hotel in Kolkata. 

The Court agreed with the contention of the defendant and held that the action of the plaintiff with respect to violations of the Geographical Indications Act is barred under Section 26(4) of the GI Act. The Court stated that it was apparent on the face of the records that the presentation of the plaint was made beyond the expiry of the 5 years period mandated by Section 26(4) of the Act. 

The Court stated that the plaintiff failed to substantiate its argument and prove that there was a dilution of either the registered Trademark or the Geographical Indication. Also, the Court could not find any substance in the argument of the plaintiff that the adoption, use and attempted registration of the trademark “Darjeeling Lounge” by the defendant was done in bad faith. 

Conclusion - The creation and management of GI system and products requires a delicate equilibrium between 3 pillars of sustainable development, an ideal path that should be followed by G.I stake holders and a set of questions that will let them to know to manage and develop their own Geographical location products.  

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