The Geographical Indication (GI) is a name used to identify products and services that come from a particular geographical area (which needs to be precisely defined) and because of their origin, own particular qualities.
In Brazil, there are two types of GIs: Indication of Source and Appellation of Origin. Both indicators certify that a product or a service comes from a particular area, however, the connection between the product or service and area in question must be stronger in the case of an Appellation of Origin. In order to obtain a Denomination of Origin registration, it is necessary to prove that the raw materials were sourced in the place of origin and that the processing of the product also took place there. Through Denomination of Origin, consumers are not only able to recognize the product as originating from a specific area, but can also identify the features that make it unique
When a geographical name has become the common name for designating a given product or service, it cannot become a GI, which is the reason why it is so important to pursue the registration preventing the name dilution, as soon as possible.
Generally, it is not possible for a single producer to apply for a Geographical Indication registration. This is because producers must be organized as associations, institutions or entities representing the community, which are established in the relevant area and are effectively producing the goods for which they want to obtain a certification.
The most important part of the application concerns the requirement to evidence the existence of a control structure on producers or service providers. Therefore, applicants must provide the description of the product and its main physical, chemical and organoleptic characteristics; evidence concerning its geographic origin; and a description of the method for obtaining it and of the method of control.
Foreign geographical names can also be registered in Brazil if already recognized in the country of origin or by an international organization. This has been the case for “Porto”, “Champagne”, and “Roquefort”, which indicate, respectively, Portuguese and French Denominations of Origin. In order to register the GIs, many of the elements required by the Brazilian Trademark Office (INPI) for local products can be omitted, provided that they arise from the official document that recognizes a GI in its country of origin.
This being said, after a 10 and a half year wait, the Brazilian Trademark Office (INPI) has just granted the Geographical Indication registration for TEQUILA, in the species of Denomination of Origin, recognizing exclusive rights of the designation for the distillate producers of the drink made of the plant known as blue agave and established in the states of Jalisco, Michoacán, Guanajuato, Nayarit and Tamaulipas, in Mexico.
The main effect of this recognition is the non-dilution of the geographical name, in order to prevent its use by third parties as a trademark, as well as to prevent TEQUILA from becoming a common and designative name of the beverage itself.
Represented by Montaury Pimenta, Machado & Viera de Mello, the Tequila Regulatory Council (CRT), a Mexican entity that owns the rights and controls the interests related to TEQUILA, has been fighting for this official recognition in Brazil. Such recognition came after several clashes with other entities that tried to block the Brazilian registration.
In addition to the possibility of repressing the unauthorized use of the name TEQUILA for distilled beverages, the recognition of TEQUILA as a Geographical Indication is extremely important for the consumers. Under a specific official label, the consumer has greater confidence in finding a quality product with its own regional characteristics.