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Geographical Indications

What is a geographical indication?

A geographical indication (GI) is a sign that identifies a product as originating from a particular location which gives that product a special quality or reputation or other characteristic. Well-known examples of GIs include Roquefort (cheese), Champagne (spirits) and Tuscany (olive oil). In the region, in Jamaica, Jamaican Jerk is now a registered GI.

Protection for a GI

In Antigua and Barbuda, a GI can be protected under the Geographical Indications Act. It may also be eligible for registration as a trade mark under the Trademarks Act.

A GI is distinct from a trade mark. A GI informs consumers that a product comes from a certain place and has special qualities due to that place of origin, while a trade mark is used to distinguish a business’ goods or services from those of its competitors. A GI may be used by all producers or traders whose products originate from that place and which share typical characteristics, while a trade mark gives its owners the right to prevent others from using the trade mark.

GIs that are not protected

It is important to note the following instances where a GI will not be protected:

– It is immoral or against public order.

– It is no longer in use or no longer protected in the country of origin.

– It has become the common name in Antigua and Barbuda for the goods or services which it identifies.

– (For Wines and Spirits) It has been used continuously for at least 10 years preceding 15 April 1994 or in good faith preceding that date.

– It is confusingly similar to a trade mark for which rights had been acquired before the GI is protected in its country of origin.

– It is the name of a person or a predecessor in a particular business.