Geographical Indications

A geographical indication (GI) refers to a name or sign that links a product back to a specific origin and attributes to the product certain qualities or characteristics that are specific only to that geographical area.

In Australia, GIs are protected by certification trade marks as well as special legislation for foreign and Australian geographical indications and the Australian consumer law. Special legislations state that falsely claiming a graphical indication is a criminal offense, whereas the Australian Consumer Law sanctions parties who deliberately seek to mislead or deceive consumers, in this case, by falsely stating the geographical origin or geographical indication of a product.

How to register a geographical indication in Australia

Two systems are in place to register a GI in the country. First mode of protection for geographical indicators in Australia is through applying for a certification trade mark (in relation to all goods).

The second route for protecting GI is through a sui generis system that applies to wine and grape products and is administered by the Australian Grape and Wine Authority. To date, more than 100 Australian and 2000 European wine geographical indications have been recorded in the registry.

Examples of Geographical Indications

Examples of foreign graphical indications registered in Australia include Parmigiano Regianno (Certification mark 677876) for cheese, Scotch whisky (Certification mark 1532781) for spirits and spirit based beverages and Darjeeling (Certification mark 998592) for tea.