• Intellectual property
  • November 01, 2021

What SMEs Need To Know About Geographical Indicators

The term geographical indicator (GI) is not commonly known; however, if you have ever heard of champagne (of course you have), the Cornish pasty, or scotch whiskey, you will understand what it refers to in the scope of intellectual property law.  Fizzy wine must not be labelled 'champagne' unless it is produced in the Champagne region of France, Cornish pasties must be made in Cornwall, and no whiskey can be called Scotch unless it is produced in the land that also gave us Robert Burns and Sean Connery.

Having the protection of a GI is exceptionally important, not only for SMEs but also for the economy as a whole. For example, in 2018, exports of Scotch Whiskey generated overseas sales of £4.36bn.


What is a Geographical Indicator?

A geographical indicator is a sign which certifies a particular product has been produced in a specific geographical place and possess qualities or a reputation due to that location. GIs are usually related to food, wine, liquor, crafts, and manufactured goods.


What is the value of a GI?

Thanks to the internet and rising incomes, consumers are better educated and more discerning regarding where the products they purchase come from. In addition, climate change has meant people are increasingly motivated to buy from local producers. Finally, certain products from particular geographical regions are viewed to have a heightened sense of value, for example, French cheese and New Zealand Manuka Honey.


What is the difference between a geographical indicator and a trademark?

A trademark can be applied to a name, symbol, smell, sound, or saying (for example, “Let’s get ready to rummmmmble!”).  In contrast, a geographical area sets out the parameters of a geographical indicator. Think of it like this - a trademark identifies that a product is made by a particular business whereas a geographical indicator reveals that product or merchandise derives from a distinct territory.


Wrapping up 

Geographical indicators are incredibly important to producers and the economy of the region the GI applies to. An Intellectual Property Solicitor can assist you with using geographical indicator protection if other companies are selling goods similar to yours and indicating they are from a particular territory when in fact they are not.

Get legal assistance from LawBite

Geographical indicators might be a new concept for you but you shouldn't put it aside. LawBite expert intellectual protect lawyers can help you protect your business and protects by using geographical indicators.

If you have any questions do not hesitate to book a free consultation with one of our expert lawyers by visiting our Intellectual Property page or calling us on 020 38088314.

Additional useful information

In closing

Nothing in this article constitutes legal advice on which you should rely. The article is provided for general information purposes only. Professional legal advice should always be sought before taking any action relating to or relying on the content of this article. Our Platform Terms of Use apply to this article.

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