A geographical indication is a designation made in respect of a product that corresponds to a specific geographical location or to the origin of that product. The indication may be used to certify that the product has certain qualities, is produced by a particular traditional method or has a certain reputation, due to its geographical location or origin.
Thailand’s Geographical Indications Protection Act of B.E. 2546 (2003) permits and governs the registration of the geographical indication of a product.
At Juslaws, lawyers in our Trademark and Copyright Practice help clients protect their products by providing assistance in the registration application process and in any necessary appeals. Refer to Flow Chart Featuring Geographical Indication Registration in Thailand
The Act stipulates that the application will be examined for the following –
Eligibility to apply
The formalities include –
Specification of the goods that would use the geographical indication
Details about quality, reputation or other relevant characteristics of the goods
The relationship between the goods specified in the application and their geographical origin
As a geographical indication represents the origin of a product this conveys to a consumer that there are special features or qualities possessed by that product as compared with one produced elsewhere.
A relevant example here is a product known by the name “Petchabun Sweet Tamarind”. The product name consists of the words “Sweet Tamarind”, indicating the type of product, and the word “Petchabun”, which denotes the origin of the product.
The product’s name is suggestive of its special features or qualities. These features or qualities are particular to the Petchabun Sweet Tamarind due to the quantity of rainfall and the soil quality in Petchabun province, coupled with the specialized techniques used by Petchabun farmers that make tamarinds grown in Petchabun sweeter than those grown in other provinces.
This example illustrates that geographical indication occurs when two key components or factors coexist. The first factor is the natural environment of the area and the second component is the human factor. In other words, nature provides the environment necessary for the production of the goods, while humans provide the local knowledge and skills required for their production.
These factors together contribute to the special features or qualities of the product. Given these two key components, the right to geographical indication belongs to the local community or the local people who produce the goods.