TRIPS

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Articles 22-24 provide for protection of rights in the use of geographical indications. Article 22 (1) defines a geographical indication. For the purposes of the TRIPS agreement, a geographical indication is one which identifies a good as originating in the territory of a Member state or a region or locality in that territory and a given quality, reputation or other characteristic of the good is essentially attributable to its geographical origin. As stated earlier, examples are, Darjeeling tea, Scotch whisky and such geographical indications. The obligation of a Member Country is set out in Article 22(2) of the TRIPS agreement. The legal mechanism to be created for the protection of exclusive use of geographical indications in each Member’s territory shall be such as to prevent: (a) an untrue indication of the place of origin of a good in a manner misleading the public as to the geographical location of the good; (b) any use constituting an act of unfair competition as defined under Article 10bis of the Paris Convention (1967).

Article 22(3) provides that domestic legislation on geographical indications of a Member, may provide that registration of a trade mark is to be refused or that it be invalidated if a registration had already been made, where the registration of a trade mark contains or consists of a geographical indication with respect to goods not originating in that territory indicated, if use of the indication in the trade mark for such goods in that Member is likely to mislead as to the true place of origin. Article 22(4) permits a prohibition of use of a geographical indication which, although literally true as to the region, locality etc. in which the goods originate, falsely represents to the public that the goods originate in another territory.

Article 23 provides for additional protection for geographical indications for wines and spirits. Article 24 enables Member to: enter into negotiations aimed at increasing the protection of individual geographical indications under Article 23, extend protection to the validity of registration of trademarks, used bona fide from date prior to the application of the law relating to geographical indications in a Member country, against invalidation on the basis that such a trademark is identical with, or similar to, a geographical indication, provide protection to a person of his right to use, in the course of trade, his name or the name of his predecessor in business, except where such name is used in such a manner as to mislead public, disallow protection to geographical indications which are not or have ceased to be protected in their country of origin, or which have fallen into disuse in that country, etc.

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