Geographical indications

Geographical indications are indications which identify a good as originating in the territory of a country, or a region or locality in that territory, where a given quality, reputation or other characteristics of the good is essentially attributable to its geographical origin. The concept “geographical indication” encompasses both “appellations of origin” and “indications of source”.

An appellation of origin (APO) is a designation that represents or contains either a contemporary or historical, official or unofficial, full or abbreviated name of a geographical object, as well as a designation derivative of such name, that has become known as a result of its use in relation to a good the special characteristics of which are due exclusively or essentially to the special geographical environment of the said geographical object, including natural and/or human factors. The list of appellations of origin registered in the Republic of Belarus see here.

An appellation of origin is granted legal protection in the Republic of Belarus on the basis of its registration effected by the patent authority of the Republic of Belarus – the National Center of Intellectual Property. Upon registration of an appellation of origin a certificate is issued to attest the right to use the appellation of origin.

The term of the certificate attesting the right to use an appellation of origin is 10 years, as from the date of receipt of the application by the patent authority. The term of the certificate may be extended unlimited number of times for the periods of 10 years each.

Legal protection of an indication of source is granted on the basis of its use and consists in the repression of false or deceptive indications on goods, as well as indications deceiving the consumer as to the true place of origin of goods. The indication of source is  not subject to state registration.

The right to use a registered appellation of origin may be transferred to any legal or physical entity located in the territory of the same geographical object, and manufacturing goods with the same properties.

The right to use a geographical indication may not be assigned or licensed.

The person who has the right to use a geographical indication may demand that a person who is unlawfully using a geographical indication discontinue its use, remove the unlawfully used geographical indication or a designation that is confusingly similar to it from the goods, their packaging, forms or other documentation, or destroy any existing reproductions of the geographical indication or the designation that is confusingly similar to it, or, where that is not possible, withdraw and destroy the goods and/or their packaging.

The person who has the right to use the geographical indication is entitled to seek compensation from the infringer of that right for damages sustained.

Relationship between geographical indications and trademarks.

According to the Law of the Republic of Belarus “On Trademarks and Service Marks”  no indications may be registered as trademarks if they are identical with or confusingly similar to appellations of origin protected in the Republic of Belarus or filed for registration as such and having earlier priority, except where appellations of origin or designations confusingly similar to them are incorporated as unprotected elements in a trademark registered in the name of a person having the exclusive right to such appellations of origin, if the registration of the trademark is sought for those very goods for the individualization of which  the appellations of origin are registered.