A geographical indication is a sign of a specific geographical location, region or country, where that sign is used on goods to indicate that goods are from that location and where the goods possess a quality, reputation or other characteristic linked to that location. In many countries this geographical indication is used to denote foods or beverages from a particular area. In New Zealand and Australia the legislation so far covers “wine” (and in NZ this extends to “spirits”). Think of the meaning of Champagne (for bubbly) or Scotch whisky or Marlborough wines.
The Geographical Indications (Wine and Spirits) Registration Act 2006 and associated Regulations came into force in New Zealand on 24 July 2017. Therefore it is now possible to obtain geographical indication registration in New Zealand for geographical indications in respect of wines and spirits only.
A geographical indication can be from within New Zealand or can be from anywhere in the world. A geographical indication from outside New Zealand in order to obtain New Zealand registration has to be protected in its country of origin and not have fallen into disuse in that country.
Applications for registration of a geographical indication for wines and spirits are lodged at and considered by the Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand (IPONZ). The registration of a geographical indication can take up to a minimum of six months assuming no substantive issues are raised during examination of the geographical indication by IPONZ.
Once IPONZ the examination process has been completed and IPONZ recommends acceptance of the application for geographical indication registration, IPONZ will advertise the acceptance. The application for geographical indication registration may be opposed within 3 months of the advertised acceptance of the application for geographical indication registration. If no opposition is raised IPONZ will register the geographical indication application. The IPONZ Hearings Office will administer the opposition proceeding if an opposition is raised to the registration of the geographical indication application.
A geographical indications is initially registered for five years before the registration is required to be renewed and then at ten yearly intervals thereafter. A geographical indication registration can be removed for non use of the geographical indication.
Note: Geographical indications for any other goods can be protected using the certification trade mark system under the provisions of the New Zealand Trade Marks Act 2002.
Australia also has registration regimes for geographical indications. Australia has a specific geographical indication registration system for wines only under the provisions of the Australian Grape and Wine Authority Act 2013. The Australian Grape and Wine Authority (AGWA) administer a registration system for wine geographical indications through the Register of Protected Geographical Indications and Other Terms. Note: All other geographical indications for any other goods can be protected using the certification trade mark system under the provisions of the Australian Trade Marks Act 1995.
Applications to register a wine related geographical indication in Australia are assessed by the AGWA. If the AGWA recommends registration, the geographical indication application is publically advertised and affected parties have a period of time in which to object to the inclusion of the geographical indication on the Register of Protected Geographical Indications and Other Terms. If no objection is raised AGWA will register the geographical indication application.
A registered geographical indication is registered forever, however a registration can be struck off the register if the geographical registration has not been used within the last 3 years if the geographical registration has been registered for more than 5 years.
It is recommended to consult with a Patent Attorney or suitable Intellectual Property practitioner before embarking on seeking geographical indication registration.
For further information on Geographical Indications please contact the Pipers Geographical Indications Team by email firstname.lastname@example.org or +64 9 9199450.