According to a Straits Times report on 17 July 2019, since the establishment of a Registry of Geographical Indications in Singapore on 1 April 2019, 138 applications for geographical indications (GI) were filed in Singapore, of which 100 have obtained registration.
A GI is an indication used in trade to identify a good as originating from a particular geographical origin, which gives a certain quality, reputation or other characteristic to the good.
Most registered GIs in Singapore currently originate from the EU. However, the GI registry is not limited to applications from the EU. Interested applicants are encouraged to apply for a GI, to achieve protection against third parties who misuse their GI, such as by using the GI in a misleading manner, in relation to goods which did not originate from the place indicated by the GI.
A GI may be applied for in respect of wines, spirits, beers, cheese, meat and meat products, seafood, edible oils, non-edible oils, fruits, vegetables, spices and condiments, confectionery and baked goods, flowers and parts of flowers, and natural gum.
There are three stages in the application process before a GI is successfully registered - filing the application; substantive examination; and opposition.
GIs which are accepted for registration by the Registry following substantive examination will be published for opposition purposes in the Geographical Indications Journal. The timeline for opposition is 6 weeks from the date of publication.
Given the close interrelation between trade marks and GIs, in particular, that a geographical indication should not be identical with or similar to an earlier trade mark in Singapore, trade mark owners, particularly those in the food industry, are encouraged to monitor published GI applications for opposition purposes.