Geographical indication, known often by the acronym of GI, is a mark that is used on specific products to indicate the origin of the products. The geographical indication can be for a specific town, region, province or country. It is often used as certification for the qualities of the products based on the geographical origin. The indication in many instances serves to show that products are of excellent quality because the place of origin is known for its high level of quality for the specific product.
Geographical indication has been used by governments for a long time. Trademarks provide the holders thereof the exclusive use of the marks on their products or services. Geographical indication can be seen as certification marks to support the value and claims of the trademark.
One cannot use a geographical indication for a particular product if that product doesn’t originate from that specific area. Although in the strict sense of the word, geographical indication is not a trade mark it still has as purpose the identification of the geographical location of the products.
In Europe it has been a tradition to identify specific food product locations. The European Union adopted a system in 1992 regulating geographical indication. In France a system has been in use for a long time indicating geographical location and quality standards. There are several products which have the mark such as spirits, wines, and oranges.
A geographical indication, just as a trademark must be registered and must meet the criteria for registration. In terms of geographical indications the name must not already be widely used as a generic term for products in a similar category or same. Each of the countries where such is recognized controls and monitors the allocation and usage of geographical indications.