Before the enactment of the Industrial Property Law (IPL) No. 9.279/96, Geographical Indications (GIs) were protected in Brazil on the grounds of unfair competition. This scenario changed when the IPL entered into force.
It introduced the protection of GIs by means of a registration issued by the Brazilian Institute of Industrial Property (INPI) not only for products but also for services. It is possible to seek registration (of declaratory nature and for an unlimited period of time) for GIs either as Indicação de Procedência (IP) or Denominação de Origem (DO).
Only upon INPI Ordinance no. 75 of 2000, the rules on GI registration were introduced. They are now superseded by INPI Normative Instruction no. 12/2013 of March 19, 2013.
Since the registration in 2002 of the first IP VALE DOS VINHEDOS" (red, white and sparkling wines), the interest for GIs has been growing fast in Brazil. At the moment, 30 Brazilian GIs are protected in the country for an amazing variety of products, among them: "VALE DOS SINOS" (finished leather), "PEDRO II" (precious opals), "CACHOEIRO DE ITAPEMIRIM" (marble), and "REGIÃO DA SERRA DA MANTIQUEIRA" (coffee).
The first Brazilian DO "LITORAL NORTE GAÚCHO" (rice), was registered in August 2010 followed, among others, by "REGIÃO PEDRA CARIJÓ RIO DE JANEIRO" (gneiss), "MANGUEZAIS DE ALAGOAS" (red propolis), and "COSTA NEGRA" (shrimps).
But it is the recent recognition of "PORTO DIGITAL" as IP for IT services, the most interesting case in terms of GI protection. In this case, the right holder had to submit consistent evidence of acquired reputation for this kind of services, as reputation is a key requirement for the registration of an IP in Brazil. Many legal specialists are assessing which will be in practice the effects of such a registration.
As the number of Brazilian GIs keeps growing, further IP registrations for different services might follow. It is interesting to see whether the INPI will register a DO for services, since the main features in this case must result from environmental and human factors.