Names or signs representing a product identified with a region or country where the origin is located due to its distinctive nature, reputation or other characteristics are called geographical signs. If a product has become distinctive due to its geographical location, it can be registered and protected as a geographical indication. For example: Şile Cloth and Antep Baklava.
There are two types of geographical signs; name of origin and geographical indication.
Name of Origin: It means that all the distinctive features of the product depend on where it is produced and if it is produced in a place other than that, its distinctive features are lost. In other words, if the product is not produced in that spesific place, It will have no distinctive feature.
• It is a product originating from an area, region or in rare cases a country with geographical borders;
• It is a product of all qualities or features originating from nature and human characteristics are specific to this area or region;
• It is a product that is produced within the borders of this area or region inluding processing and other processes. For example, Aegean Cotton, Anzer Honey.
Geographical Indication: It is a product identified with an area or region with a distinctive reputation. At least one of the processes such as production, processing and the other processes takes place within the borders of the specified area or region.
At least one of one the distinctive features of the product is originated from the specific area but it can also be produced or processed somewhere else and it can still retain it distinctiveness. For example, ; Isparta Carpet, Siirt Blanket, Maraş Ice Cream.
The difference between Geographical Indication and Name of Origin is the fact that a product which is protected with Name of Origin can not be produced out of the specific border which it has its distinctiveness from while a product being protected with geographical indication can be produced out of the spesific border under some circumstances. Based on the examples given, while it is not possible to produce Aegean Cotton outside the Aegean region, if Maraş Ice Cream is made using goat milk which produced in Kahramanmaraş, it may still benefit from the protection without regard to the production location.
Who Can Apply?
As stated in article 36 of the Industrial Property Law No. 6769, producer groups, public institutions and organizations related to the geographical area where the product originates, and professional organizations, public institutions, associations, foundations and cooperatives authorized to protect the economic interests of their members can apply. If there is only one manufacturer of the product and he proves that he is the only manufacturer, the manufacturer has the right to apply as well.
Geographical Indication Registration Process:
1) Turkish Patent Office examines the geographical indication applications that they receive. If there is any missing information and documents, they give 3 months to make up the missing documents. If the deficiencies are not resolved within the deadline, the application is rejected.
2) Among the geographical indication applications carrying conditions of Decree-Law no 555, Names of Origin are published in the Official Gazette and the local newspaper. Geographical Indications are published in the Official Gazette and the local newspaper as well as one of the newspapers which has the highest daily circulation nationwide.
3) The objection period is 6 months from the date of publication in the Official Gazette. Registration of geographical indication becomes final if there is no objection in these 6 months. The registration fee for the application whose registration is finalized must be paid within 3 months.
Who Can Benefit?
Geographical signs are used only on products that meet their requirements. Origin names from geographical signs are used commercially by the manufacturers operating in the geographical region specified in the registry, on the products or packaging specified in the registry, with the conditions that these products have the quality, reputation and other features shown in the registry. For the use of the signs, it is required that at least one of the production, processing must be made within the borders of the area or geographic region specified in the registry and the product has the quality, reputation and other features shown in the registry. As it is seen, geographical indication does not provide personal protection unlike other intellectual property registrations. In other words; it does not matter who made the registration for the geographical sign. Anyone who manufactures the product that meets the registered requirements can benefit from this protection.
Rights Provided by Geographical Sign Registration:
• Any use that would benefit from the reputation of the registered name is prevented. Products that resemble the products covered by the registration, the indirect or direct use of the registered name is prevented.
•Usage of words like ‘’style, type, method’’ prevented as those usages can create the idea that the product is produced in the same place while it is actually not.
• It is prevented to include any false or misleading explanation or indication about the natural or essential qualities and features of the product on the package or any written document of the product.
• The product is prevented from being packaged in a way that can mislead the public about its origin or being presented in any other form that may create an error.