A Geographical Indication shows that the goods originate from a country, region, or locality. Moreover, it also represents some special characteristics and qualities which belong to its place of origin. Besides, any association of persons or organizations can make an application for registration of Geographical Indication in India. Given that they represent the interests of the producers of the respective goods.
Filing the application
The applicant should check whether the indication falls under section 2(1)(e) of the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999.
The organization or representing authority should provide an affidavit. Further, the affidavit must state how the application claims to represent their interests.
• The application must be in triplicate form, including a sign of the applicant and a statement of the case.
• Distinguishing features should be present in the application and show how they are preserved.
•Three verified copies of the region map relating to the GI.
•It should contain details about any inspection structures in place to regulate the use of the GI in the territory to which it pertains if any exist.
•Give the names and addresses of all the applicants. If there are many producers, the application should make a collective reference to all producers of the commodities.
For service in India, the applicant must have an address in India. Generally, a legal practitioner or a registered agent can file the application.
Examination of the application
The application after submission to the IPO goes for examination. If there is any deficiency, the applicant should remedy the same within 1 month of such communication. A group of experts assesses the contents of the statement of the case. The correctness of the details present in the application is checked. Thereafter, the examiner issues the examination report.
Issuing Show cause notice
If the Registrar has any objection to the application, the same is notified to the applicant. Thereafter, the applicant must respond within 2 months or apply for a hearing. Besides, the applicant may appeal against the decision within 1 month of such communication. The Registrar can also withdraw the application at any stage. If there is an error in the application the proposed GI should not get registration. Finally, if there is no objection the application moves to the next stage.
Publication & Opposition
Post examination, the next stage is the publication of the application for 3 months in the GI journal. During this period, any third party can file an application against the published application. Finally, if there is no opposition, the application moves forward.
After the acceptance of the application, the Registrar registers the Geographical Indication. On registration, the date of filing the application becomes the date of registration. Subsequently, the Registrar issues a certificate with the seal of the Geographical Indications Registry to the applicant. This completes the registration of geographical indication in India.
Geographical Indication Opposition
The Geographical Indications journal publishes the application to invite any opposition. Anyone can file a notice of opposition against the GI application within 3 months. Thereafter, the Registrar serves a copy of the notice of opposition to the applicant. After which the applicant should send a copy of the counter-statement within 2 months. If the applicant does not send the counter-statement, the application is abandoned. On filing the counter-statement is, the registrar serves a copy of the counter-statement to the person opposing the application. Finally, both sides give evidence through affidavits and supporting documents, and the date of hearing is fixed.
Geographical Indication Renewal
A registered GI is valid for a period of 10 years and requires renewal for a further period of 10 years by paying the fees. On failure of renewal, it may be removed from the Geographical Indication register.
Any party dissatisfied with an order or decision has 3 months to file an appeal with the Intellectual Property Appellate Board.