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Protection of Geographical Indications

19 February 2020

On July 26, 2019, Law No. 230-FZ On Amendments to Part Four of the Civil Code of the Russian Federation and Articles 1 and 23.1 of the Federal Law On State Regulation of the Production and Circulation of Ethanol, Alcoholic and Alcohol-Containing Products and on the Limitation of Alcoholic Products Consumption (Drinking) was published.

The law will enter into force on July 27, 2020.

The law introduces legal regulation of a new intellectual property right item — geographical indication. This item is actually close to an appellation of origin. It is also a means of individualization of goods and also serves to designate goods, which characteristics are related to its geographical origin. It differs from the appellation of origin in a less stringent requirement for a relation between the characteristics of the goods and their geographical origin: if the appellation of origin is used for the goods, which properties are “solely or mainly” determined by their geographical origin, namely, natural or human factors of the relevant geographical location, the properties of the goods, for which the geographical indication is used, are related to the relevant geographical location “to a large extent” only.

The law also provides for a distinction between the geographical indication and the appellation of origin depending on whether all production stages of the goods are within the boundaries of the relevant geographical location. A requirement is introduced with regard to the appellation of origin so that the goods should be completely produced within the territory of a geographical location, which name is included in the appellation of origin, while in case of a geographical indication — at least one production stage of the goods, which determines their characteristics, shall be within the relevant geographical location.

Another innovation in the law is a larger number of the scope of persons, who can obtain the right to protect such means of individualization. In addition to individuals and legal entities engaged in production of the goods designated by the geographical indication or the appellation of origin, the law provides for a possibility to register an appellation of origin or a geographical indication by associations of persons, who produce or commercialize the goods. At the same time, the persons included in such associations will obtain the right to use the appellations of origin or the geographical indications registered in the name of their association.

The law sets forth a procedure for registration and grant of the right to use the geographical indication, in particular, the requirements for an application for registration of a geographical indication. Also new requirements for an application for registration of an appellation of origin are introduced, in particular, the documents confirming famous character of such appellation with regard to the goods shall be attached to the application.

The law provides for a possibility to grant protection of the geographical indication for the goods originating from outside of the Russian Federation. For such geographical indications, in addition to the information provided for the Russian geographical indications, the applicant will have to confirm the compliance of the foreign geographical indication with the requirements set forth for the geographical indication by the Civil Code of Russia and his/her/its exclusive right to this geographical indication in the country of origin.