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How to Protect a Geographical Indication?

In different countries and regions, geographical indications (GIs) are protected through a variety of approaches.

There are three main modalities of protection for GIs:

  • so-called sui generis systems, which apply specifically and exclusively to GIs
  • collective marks and certification marks
  • modalities focusing on business practices (such as laws relating to the repression of unfair competition or to consumer protection).

 Expert tip: For specific information on GI protection in your country, consult the relevant national or regional IP office.

Geographical Indications protection

Who can request a GI protection?

Generally, protection may be requested by a group of producers or manufacturers of the product identified by the GI. The producers or manufacturers may be organized as an entity, such as a cooperative or association, which represents them and ensures that the product fulfils certain requirements, which they have agreed upon or adhered to. In some jurisdictions, protection may also be requested by a local government body.

Who can benefit from GI protection?

The right to use a protected geographical indication belongs to producers or manufacturers in the geographical area defined, who comply with the specific standards of the production (also known as “code of practice” or “regulations of use”).

Protecting Geographical Indications abroad

GI rights are territorial, which means that these rights are limited to the country or region where protection is granted.

There are three main ways of protecting a GI abroad:

National and Regional routes

International route