Geographical indications (GIs) are used not only to identify where a product is from but also to signal that a product contains certain qualities or characteristics because of its geographical location.
Internationally, the most famous examples are Champagne and Scotch Whisky. In New Zealand, the names of our wine regions, like Marlborough and Central Otago, are some obvious examples.
How do I protect my product with a geographical indication in New Zealand?
New Zealand's long-awaited GI register was implemented on 27 July 2017, making it possible to register GIs for both New Zealand and foreign wines and spirits.
The requirements for protecting foreign GIs are different to those for protecting a New Zealand GI.
- If you think you have a New Zealand GI, the registration system will assess whether it should qualify for protection, where the boundaries for the GI should lie, and whether any conditions should apply to the registration.
- If you have a foreign GI, the registration system is more concerned with ensuring that the GI is protected in its home country and understanding the foundation for that protection. Registering a foreign GI should be a simpler process than registering a New Zealand geographical indication.
The Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand (IPONZ) examines all applications. If the GI meets the requirements, it will be advertised to allow third parties the opportunity to oppose. If there is no opposition, the GI will be registered. A straightforward registration might take around 6-9 months.
How can AJ Park help me?
We have a team of IP experts who have specialist knowledge in GIs. These experts have monitored and been involved in the development and implementation of the law and the registration system since its genesis. We were also among the first to test and file an application when the new registration system launched.
Our team can help with all aspects of protecting a local or foreign GI in New Zealand. This includes assessing whether the current laws adequately protect your GI and helping with registration of your wine or spirit GIs.
If you need plain English advice on geographical indications, get in touch with one of our experts below.