A Geographical Indication (GI) is a sign which identifies goods as originating in a specific locality or region in a country whereby given the quality, reputation or other characteristics are essentially attributable to the specific locality or region. There must therefore be a clear link between the product and the original place of production as the quality depends on the geographical place of production.
Some examples include – Darjeeling Tea which originates in Darjeeling India; Cuban cigars which are made from tobacco leaves grown in Cuba and roughly rolled into shape; Champagne which is produced from grapes grown in the Champagne region of France; and, Tequila which is a distilled beverage made from the blue agave plant, primarily in the area surrounding the city of Tequila, Mexico.
Geographical Indications are primarily used for agricultural products, foods, spirits and wines as well as industrial products.
Geographical Indications are protected in accordance with national laws. In Barbados the relevant legislation is the Geographical Indications Act, Cap.320, which grants protection to GIs whether or not they are registered under the Act and the Geographical Indications Regulations, 2001.
The protection that is afforded to GIs under the legislation is indefinite.
Geographical Indications serve to differentiate products on the market as they identify the place of origin which suggests that the products have a particular quality or characteristic for which the product is known and which is valued by consumers.
A Geographical Indication identifies goods as originating in a specific locality/place or region in a country and therefore the name used as a GI must be that of the Geographical area. A Trademark, on the other hand is a visible sign that can, in the course of trade, distinguish the goods or services of one trader from those of other traders. That sign can be fanciful or arbitrary and may include words including names, signatures, colours, designs, letters, numbers and the shape of the goods or their packaging or any combination of these.
An application is filed at the Corporate Affairs and Intellectual Property Office, Ground Floor BAOBAB Tower, Warrens, St. Michael. The cost of an application is $500.00, the publication fee is $200.00 and the registration fee is $2,500.00.
Geographical Indication rights are territorial. This means that these rights are limited to the country where protection is granted.
The application must clearly identify the Geographical Indication for which registration is being sought, the relevant geographical areas, the goods as well as the quality, reputation or other characteristics of the goods for which the GI is used.