What is a geographical indication?
indications only be used for agricultural products?
What is an
appellation of origin?
What does a geographical indication
Why do geographical indications
What is the difference
between a geographical indication and a trademark?
How is a geographical indication
geographical indications protected on the international level?
What is a "generic"
What is WIPO's role in protection
What is a
geographical indication is a sign used on goods that have a specific
geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that
place of origin. Most commonly, a geographical indication consists of the name
of the place of origin of the goods. Agricultural products typically have
qualities that derive from their place of production and are influenced by
specific local factors, such as climate and soil. Whether a sign functions as a
geographical indication is a matter of national law and consumer perception.
Geographical indications may be used for a wide variety of agricultural
products, such as, for example, "Tuscany" for olive oil produced in a specific
area of Italy (protected, for example, in Italy by Law No. 169 of February 5,
1992), or "Roquefort" for cheese produced in France (protected, for example, in
the European Union under Regulation (EC) No. 2081/92 and in the United States
under US Certification Registration Mark No. 571.798).
Can geographical indications
only be used for agricultural products?
of geographical indications is not limited to agricultural products. They may
also highlight specific qualities of a product which are due to human factors
that can be found in the place of origin of the products, such as specific
manufacturing skills and traditions. That place of origin may be a village or
town, a region or a country. An example for the latter is "Switzerland" or
"Swiss," which is perceived as a geographical indication in many countries for
products that are made in Switzerland and, in particular, for watches.
appellation of origin is a special kind of geographical indication, used on
products that have a specific quality that is exclusively or essentially due to
the geographical environment in which the products are produced. The
concept of geographical indication encompasses appellations of origin.
What does a geographical
geographical indication points to a specific place or region of production that
determines the characteristic qualities of the product that originates therein.
It is important that the product derives its qualities and reputation from that
place. Since those qualities depend on the place of production, a specific
"link" exists between the products and their original place of production.
geographical indications need protection?
Geographical indications are understood by consumers to denote the origin and
the quality of products. Many of them have acquired valuable reputations which,
if not adequately protected, may be misrepresented by dishonest commercial
operators. False use of geographical indications by unauthorized parties is
detrimental to consumers and legitimate producers. The former are deceived and
led into believing to buy a genuine product with specific qualities and
characteristics, while they in fact get a worthless imitation. The latter suffer
damage because valuable business is taken away from them and the established
reputation for their products is damaged.
What is the difference between a
geographical indication and a trademark?
trademark is a sign used by an enterprise to distinguish its goods and services
from those of other enterprises. It gives its owner the right to exclude others
from using the trademark. A geographical indication tells consumers that a
product is produced in a certain place and has certain characteristics that are
due to that place of production. It may be used by all producers who make their
products in the place designated by a geographical indication and whose products
share typical qualities.
How is a
geographical indication protected?
Geographical indications are protected in accordance with national laws and
under a wide range of concepts, such as laws against unfair competition,
consumer protection laws, laws for the protection of certification marks or
special laws for the protection of geographical indications or appellations of
origin. In essence, unauthorized parties may not use geographical indications if
such use is likely to mislead the public as to the true origin of the product.
Applicable sanctions range from court injunctions preventing the unauthorized
use to the payment of damages and fines or, in serious cases, imprisonment.
How are geographical indications
protected on the international level?
number of treaties administered by the World Intellectual Property Organization
(WIPO) provide for the protection of geographical indications, most notably the
Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property of 1883, and the
Lisbon Agreement for the Protection of Appellations of Origin and Their
International Registration. In addition, Articles 22 to 24 of the Agreement on
Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) deal with the
international protection of geographical indications within the framwork of the
World Trade Organization (WTO).
What is a "generic"
If a geographical
term is used as the designation of a kind of product, rather than an indication
of the place of origin of that product, this term does no longer function as a
geographical indication. Where that has occurred in a certain country over a
substantial period of time, that country may recognize that consumers have come
to understand a geographical term that once stood for the origin of the product
- for example, "Dijon Mustard," a style of mustard originally from the French
town of Dijon - to denote now a certain kind of mustard, regardless of its place
What is WIPO's
role in protection geographical indications?
in charge of the administration of a number of international agreements which
deal partly or entirely with the protection of geographical indications (see, in
particular, the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, and
the Lisbon Agreement for the Protection of Appellations of Origin and Their
International Registration). Furthermore, through the work of the Standing
Committee on the Law of Trademarks, Industrial Designs and Geographical
Indications, made up of representatives of member States and interested
organizations, WIPO explores new ways of enhancing the international protection
of geographical indications.