What is a geographical indication?
A geographical indication (GI) is a sign used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin. In order to function as a GI, a sign must identify a product as originating in a given place. In addition, the qualities, characteristics or reputation of the product should be essentially due to the place of origin. Since the qualities depend on the geographical place of production, there is a clear link between the product and its original place of production.
What rights does a geographical indication provide?
A geographical indication right enables those who have the right to use the indication to prevent its use by a third party whose product does not conform to the applicable standards. For example, in the jurisdictions in which the Darjeeling geographical indication is protected, producers of Darjeeling tea can exclude use of the term “Darjeeling” for tea not grown in their tea gardens or not produced according to the standards set out in the code of practice for the geographical indication. However, a protected geographical indication does not enable the holder to prevent someone from making a product using the same techniques as those set out in the standards for that indication. Protection for a geographical indication is usually obtained by acquiring a right over the sign that constitutes the indication.
For what type of products can geographical indications be used?
Geographical indications are typically used for agricultural products, foodstuffs, wine and spirit drinks, handicrafts, and industrial products.
How are geographical indications protected?
There are three main ways to protect a geographical indication:
- so-called sui generis systems (i.e. special regimes of protection);
- using collective or certification marks;
- and methods focusing on business practices, including administrative product approval schemes.
These approaches involve differences with respect to important questions, such as the conditions for protection or the scope of protection. On the other hand, two of the modes of protection — namely sui generis systems and collective or certification mark systems — share some common features, such as the fact that they set up rights for collective use by those who comply with defined standards. Broadly speaking geographical indications are protected in different countries and regional systems through a wide variety of approaches and often using a combination of two or more of the approaches outlined above. These approaches have been developed in accordance with different legal traditions and within a framework of individual historical and economic conditions.
World Intellectual Property Organization
What is copyright?
Copyright (or author’s right) is a legal term used to describe the rights that creators have over their literary and artistic works. Works covered by copyright range from books, music, paintings, sculpture, and films, to computer programs, databases, advertisements, maps, and technical drawings.
What can be protected using copyright?
Exhaustive lists of works covered by copyright are usually not to be found in legislation. Nonetheless, broadly speaking, works commonly protected by copyright throughout the world include:
- literary works such as novels, poems, plays, reference works, newspaper articles;
- computer programs, databases;
- films, musical compositions, and choreography;
- artistic works such as paintings, drawings, photographs, and sculpture;
- and advertisements, maps, and technical drawings.
Copyright protection extends only to expressions, and not to ideas, procedures, methods of operation or mathematical concepts as such. Copyright may or may not be available for a number of objects such as titles, slogans, or logos, depending on whether they contain sufficient authorship.
What rights does copyright give me? What are my rights as author of a work?
There are two types of rights under copyright:
- economic rights, which allow the rights owner to derive financial reward from the use of their works by others;
- and moral rights, which protect the non-economic interests of the author.
Most copyright laws state that the rights owner has the economic right to authorize or prevent certain uses in relation to a work or, in some cases, to receive remuneration for the use of their work (such as through collective management).
The economic rights owner of a work can prohibit or authorize:
- its reproduction in various forms, such as printed publication or sound recording;
- its public performance, such as in a play or musical work;
- its recording, for example, in the form of compact discs or DVDs;
- its broadcasting, by radio, cable or satellite;
- its translation into other languages;
- and its adaptation, such as a novel into a film screenplay.
Examples of widely recognized moral rights include the right to claim authorship of a work and the right to oppose changes to a work that could harm the creator's reputation.
Can I register copyright?
In the majority of countries, and according to the Berne Convention, copyright protection is obtained automatically without the need for registration or other formalities. Most countries nonetheless have a system in place to allow for the voluntary registration of works. Such voluntary registration systems can help solve disputes over ownership or creation, as well as facilitate financial transactions, sales, and the assignment and/or transfer of rights. Please note that WIPO does not offer a copyright registration system or a searchable copyright database.
World Intellectual Property Organization