Industrial Property & Intellectual Rights

Geographical Indications

General Information Geographic indications are provided with specific geographical origin and qualities which can be symbolized with signs on goods regarding its reputation or characteristics including the name of the origin place. The place where agricultural products are made and the local factors –including climate and soil- of it has a wide impact on the qualities of the product. The conditions for recognizing a sign as a geographical indication are specified by the national law. The indications can be used for a broad array of products such as agricultural, natural or manufactured.

Geographical indication can also be formed from appellation of origin which comprises of geographical name or traditional factors due to the specific quality and characteristics arising from the environmental area of the production. The general concept of the geographical indications inholds the appellation of origin.

MEMBERSHIP OF INTERNATIONAL AGREEMENTS

TREATY SIGNATURE INSTRUMENT ENTRY INTO FORCE
Paris Convention (1883)   Accession: August 6, 1925 October 10, 1925
The Hague Act (1934)   Accession: July 9, 1930 August 21, 1930
TRIPs Agreement    

January 1, 1995*

Lisbon Agreement

April 24, 1959

 

 

THE LEGAL FRAMEWORK

NAME ENTRY INTO FORCE
Decree-Law No: 555 Pertaining to the Protection of Geographical Indications. June 27, 1995
Implementing Regulations for Decree-Law No. 555 November 5, 1995  
Law No: 5805, Amendment on Decree-Law No: 555 Pertaining to the Protection of Geographical Indications. October 23, 2008
Amendment on Implementing Regulations for Decree-Law No. 555 April 21, 2009

The Fields of Products that Geographical Indication Can Be Used

In The geographical indications can be used for the products other than agricultural products as well. The geographical indications can also refer to the qualities of the product regarding several factors such as human factors related to the origin place of the product. Special manufacturing skills or traditional impacts of the origin village, town or region of the country can have impact on those qualities. As an example of this “Fetta” Cheese, “Florida” Orange, “Basmati” Rice can be given.

The Scope of Geographical Indications

Origin place or region or area of the product and its impacts on the characteristic, quality and reputation are referred by geographical indication. There is a close relation between the origin place, quality and production and this makes geographical indication important and special.

The Purpose of Protecting the Geographical Indications

Consumers of the product are mostly evoked by the geographical indications regarding the appellation of the origin place and the quality in parallel. Some of them may incur commercial infringements due to false use if not protected sufficiently which is detrimental to the reputation of the product and legal producer. Consumers may be stimulated to buy the imitated product in place of the original product having the characteristic qualities in the belief that they are the same. This is also to the detriment of legal producer by means of reputation and commercial expectations.

The Differences between the Geographical Indications and Trademarks

A trademark is used to distinguish goods and services from other goods and services by using a sign in way of allowing the owner of it to exclude others. While a trademark may be comprises of any kind of signs, numbers or words desired, geographical indications mostly refer to the place of production or origin or characteristics arising from that place. That is why a name of a geographical indication can be deduced from the place of the production. The producers who make the production in similar specified qualities in the place appointed in the geographical indication can use it.

The Way of Protection of Geographical Indications

There is a wide range of international and national regulations for the protection of geographical indications, the examples of which are

  • Special laws against the false use of geographical indications or appellation of origin.
  • Laws protecting trademarks in the form of collective marks and certification marks.
  • Laws prohibiting unfair competition
  • Laws aiming consumer protection
  • Special legislations recognizing individual geographical indications.

In essence, unauthorized parties may not use a geographical indication in respect of products that do not originate in the place designated by that indication.

In case of unauthorized use of geographical indications, a broad array of penalties exists depending on the verdict of the court including fines, the compensation or imprisonment.

The Protection of Geographical Indications in the International Arena

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 are the regulation by WIPO in order to protect the geographical indications. Also there are two Articles of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) on protection of geographical indications administered by World Trade Organization. The definition of “Generic” Geographical indication In the event that a geographical indication is used as the common designation of a kind of product which does not aim referring to the place of origin, it is considered as having no function as e geographical indications. Also the country may not accept to recognize or protect the name as geographical indication.

The Protection of WIPO for Geographical Indications

WIPO is 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 (SCT), made up of representatives of Member States and interested organizations, WIPO explores new ways of enhancing the international protection of geographical indications.

WIPO has a role by means of several international regulations about protection of geographical indications. Additionally, it explores new ways of developing the international protection of geographical indications, through the work of the Standing Committee on the Law of Trademarks, Industrial Designs and Geographical Indications (SCT), made up of representatives of Member States and interested organizations