Geographical Indications

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 are the three (3) reasons why goods gain the status of a GI?

Goods can only gain GI’s status because they retain;

  • A known Quality;
  • Specific Characteristics; or
  • A Reputation – that is essentially attributable to the region or locality from which the goods originate.
What types of products may be considered GI’s?

Geographical indications are typically used for agricultural products, foodstuffs, wine and spirit drinks, handicrafts, and industrial products. Various agricultural products retain qualities derived from their place of origin and are influenced by specific local factors, such as climate and soil. It is important that the product derives its qualities and reputation from that place. Some examples of GIs are Champagne, Swiss Watches, Parma Ham and Florida Oranges.