Geographical Indication is a form of intellectual property right, which identifies a product originating from a specific area, whose quality or reputation is attributable to its place of origin. Some well-known examples of Geographical Indication products are Darjling tea, Basmati Rice, Cuban Cigars, Swiss watches etc, whose quality or reputation is linked with their origin. The Geographical Indications are significant marketing tools which adds value and competitiveness to the products in the national and global markets. These tags also contribute in strengthening of regional economies by enhancing the income of local producers and employment opportunities in the region.
The Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) requires the member states to provide means for the protection of Geographical Indications against misappropriation. The member countries are protecting Geographical Indications under multiple regimes like sui generis GI laws, Trademarks laws and Competition laws with the prevalent trend of having standalone GI legislations. Currently, in Pakistan, Geographical Indications are protected as collective marks under Trademark Ordinance, 2001.
Pakistan is blessed with diverse geography, climate, soil, culture and traditions. A score of origin linked products ranging from natural to agricultural, traditional to manufactured can qualify for protection as geographical indications. In line with best global practices, IPO Pakistan has drafted a sui generis Geographical Indication Law for the protection and registration of Geographical Indications in the country.
The Draft law devises a system where an association or a public body can acquire geographical Indication title for a natural, agricultural, food stuff, handicraft or industrial good. After registration, all growers, processors and traders in that specified area may become authorized users of the Geographical Indication subject to compliance with product specification certified by a third body. The draft law also specifies the scope and term of protection, registration requirements, revocation mechanism, offences and penalties, interaction between trademark and Geographical Indication and related matters.
IPO Pakistan attaches great importance to the input of its stakeholders. It is strongly encouraged to share your valuable comments on the Draft Law till 1st October, 2016 on the following Email address.