The law defines a GI as a designation which identifies the goods as originating from a certain geographical area, if their quality, reputation and other characteristics can be essentially attributed to their geographical origin. Unlike appellations of origin (AOs), for which all product stages should take place in the specified geographical location, for GIs it is acceptable that at least one stage of production, which substantially influences the quality, reputation or characteristics of the product, takes place on the territory in question.
While the Law on Trademarks, Service Marks and Appellations of Origin provides for the registration and use of AOs, the new GI law provides for the registration of new GIs and the registration of the right to use the existing GIs. The GI law also provides for the registration of foreign GIs – the procedure is the same as for national GIs.
The applicant may be a group of natural and/or legal persons (the applicant may also be one person, if there are no other applicants or if other applicants do not express a desire to apply) located in a certain geographical area whose name is used to designate the product they produce. The applicant may also be a non-governmental organization or local executive body located in that area.
The application for the registration of a GI or the right to use an existing GI should be filed with the Uzbek Intellectual Property Office and must contain the following:
1. Representation/image of the claimed designation;
2. Product description;
3. The production location within the geographical area;
4. Description of specific product characteristics and its link with the production area, climate, craft, etc.;
5. Names and locations of competent inspection bodies or laboratories certifying the product’s compliance with the declared, specific characteristics, if provided for in the administrative instructions of the state service for GI registration;
6. Proof of payment of the official fee; approximately EUR 510 (USD 570);
7. Documents confirming that the applicant is located in a certain geographical area and that the applicant produces the goods with characteristics essentially linked to that geographical area, if the applicant’s production is based in Uzbekistan;
8. Documents confirming the applicant’s right to use the GI in the country of origin, if the applicant’s production is based outside of Uzbekistan;
9. In case of collective filing, a document confirming the applicable characteristics of the product being produced;
10. For applicants claiming the right to use a registered GI, documents confirming that the applicant is a manufacturer of goods with the characteristics declared in the IPO’s registry.
While new GI registrations are valid for an unlimited period of time, certificates granting the right to use the already registered GIs are valid for 10 years from the application filing date, and can be extended for an unlimited number of additional 10-year periods.
The GI registration process takes less than two months. Formal examination is carried out within 15 days from the application filing date and substantive examination within one month from the formal examination decision date.
During substantive examination, the IPO does not only check if the claimed designation is in conflict with registered AOs and GIs, but also if it is in conflict with registered trademarks, service marks, plant varieties, animal breeds or any mark which could cause public confusion regarding the product and its origin. Interested parties can therefore invalidate a GI registration based on both absolute and relative grounds.
Registration of a GI or of a right to use a GI does not grant exclusive rights. It is worth mentioning that the GI law has no provisions regarding penalties for the breach of the law. In contrast, the Law on Trademarks, Service Marks and Appellations of Origin includes monetary fines ranging from EUR 2,130 (USD 2,370) to EUR 4,255 (USD 4,737).
As of today (8 April), the Uzbek IPO online registry includes four active AO registrations. Following the adoption of the new GI law, it is expected that more geographically related signs and names will be registered, as the GI registration procedure is less time consuming and less rigid regarding the place of production requirement.