The Significance of Geographical Indications to Trademark Industry

One may often think that what’s so special about the brand names like ‘Swiss Watches’, ‘Darjeeling Tea’ or Comte Cheese and how they differ from other trademarks. All of these trademarks lay claim to a geographical area that contributed to the unique characteristics of these products. In short, these globally known trademarks enjoy a claim to a Geographical Indication (GI).

The Darjeeling Tea owes its unique characteristics as it is being produced in the Darjeeling Gardens. Consumers link the Darjeeling Tea trademark to its place of origin and such goods are, therefore, protected with a Geographical Indication tag or GI tag. However, a product with a claim to a GI tag needs to perform trademark registration in the UAE to safeguard itself from infringement here.

What is the Geographical Indication?

Trademarks are normally used by companies to safeguard the Intellectual Property rights of their goods or services from that of other companies. By applying for trademark protection, the businesses can have exclusive rights over their products, thereby preventing rival companies from using them. If rivals are found to be using the trademarks, the companies can legally oppose the infringement with the help of the best trademark agents in the UAE.

The geographical indication can be used to protect the products originating from a particular place. The fame and unique quality associated with such products are exclusively due to their place of origin. Darjeeling Tea, ‘Comte Cheese’, and the word ‘Swiss’ indicating ‘Switzerland’ are some of the well-known trademarks with the GI tag.

Why a Geographical Indication is Important?

Products known for a unique feature that is derived from the place of origin requires protection, just like trademarks protect a brand. The Geographical Indication is a much-needed form of Intellectual Property protection as the violation of which becomes detrimental to the consumers. Products that are widely known for their place of origin are highly vulnerable to misrepresentation.

Consider the case of Comte Cheese, the world-renowned French Cheese. Businesses cannot trademark a product named ‘Comte Cheese’ because the milk used to make the cheese must be from French Simmental breeds. Trademark agents in UAE recommend that businesses should perform an in-depth market search to make sure that their trademarks don’t bear resemblance to any other trademarks that lay claim to Geographical Indication.

Difference Between a Trademark & Geographical Indication

The GI tag helps consumers recognise products by the name of a particular geographical area from where it is produced as per certain standards. The name used as a Geographical indication cannot be licenced to anyone from outside that particular area of origin.  As opposed to this, a typical trademark consists of an arbitrary sign, symbol, word or logo that identifies a company, and is not linked to a particular geographical area.

How is a Geographical Indication Protected in the UAE?

Many international conventions, including the TRIPS Agreement, have laid out regulations to protect the Geographical Agreement. Article 22 of the TRIPS Agreement mandates that all of its member nations must come up with their own national laws to protect Geographical Indication.’ This indicates that the protection of Geographical Indication is considered the responsibility of the respective nations. The UAE is a member of the TRIPS Agreement and is committed to the protection of Geographical Indication.

Benefits of Rights Granted Over Geographical Indication

The use of Geographical Indication as a type of Intellectual Property right has been recognised all over the world. Geographical Indication, therefore, should be regarded equally with trademarks, copyrights and industrial design protection. Rights over Geographical Indications entail the following advantages:

  • Right to take legal action against infringement of commodities, goods & services
  • Adds more value to the brand based on geographical indication
  • Contributes to the economic prosperity of the region

Why Choose Jitendra Intellectual Property (JIP)?

Jitendra Intellectual Property (JIP) is a trusted name in protecting the intellectual property rights of businesses and individuals. JIP’s trademark agents share their expertise with clients in deploying the best practices regarding Intellectual Property rights. JIP helps clients understand the various types of Intellectual Property services in the UAE including trademarks, copyrights and patents. JIP’s trademark agents and intellectual property consultants are the best in the UAE to ensure trademarks of companies remain protected across the GCC.

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