Introduction to Geographical Indication (GI) protection system

The Geographical Indication (GI) protection system is widely recognized in other countries, and registration applications have been accepted in Japan since June 2015.
It has already been institutionalized in more than 100 countries around the world, covering a wide range of regions including Asia, the Middle East, Europe, North America, Central and South America, and Africa.

Geographical indications in Japan are defined as below, and as of December 2017, 12 products have already been registered in Japan.

Definition: ``Geographical indication is the name of agricultural, forestry, and fishery products, foods, etc., which makes it possible to identify the place of production of the product from the name, and to identify that established characteristics such as the quality of the product are linked to the place of production. This refers to the display of

When protected as a geographical indication, it is possible to receive protection that is different from the trademark protection provided by, for example, protection as a regional collective trademark.
On this page, we will provide an overview of the Geographical Indication Protection System and the advantages of protecting it as a Geographical Indication.



Intellectual property information related to geographical indication protection

-Regional collective trademarks and geographical indications (Created 2018.02.09 Updated 2023.12.29) New



Regarding application for registration of geographical indication

(1) Submit the following documents to the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries to apply for registration.

①Application form: State name, place of production, etc.
② Specification: Describe the product standards etc. (*) for each producer group.
③Production process management business regulations: Describes regulations such as production methods that comply with specifications.

    * Preparing a specification often requires specialized knowledge of the product in question, and requires work similar to the characteristics of a specification in a patent application.


(2) The following points will be examined during the registration examination. In particular, the examination items are important in the order of ①, ②, and ③.

①Products: Examination of the connection between characteristics and production areas, and production results (*)
②Producer organizations: Whether freedom of membership is stipulated in producer organizations, etc.
③Name: Is the origin and product identified? Is there a conflict with a registered trademark?

    *While a production track record requires a long production period of approximately 25 years, the requirements for a name usage track record are reviewed more leniently.


(3) The flow of the examination procedure is as follows.

(Source: Quoted from the website of the Geographical Indication Protection System Central Consultation Desk (nickname: GI Support Desk))

Handling after registration

(1) The GI mark will be required to be affixed to registered products. On the other hand, it is prohibited to attach the GI mark to processed products using registered products.

(2) Registered production businesses are obligated to comply with the production location, production method, etc. stipulated in the specification. Producer organizations must confirm that production is carried out in accordance with the specifications in accordance with the production process management business regulations.
Additionally, producer organizations are required to report their performance to the government once a year. Approximately once a year, the government seems to conduct on-site inspections by visiting the producer organizations in question.

(3) Once protected as a geographical indication, in addition to the government eliminating counterfeit products, affixing the GI Mark creates a type of advertising effect, expanding trade in registered products and increasing transaction prices. It seems that similar effects are appearing.


Differences from the regional collective trademark system

 The system was introduced in April 2006, and as of December 4, 2016, approximately 12 regional collective trademarks have been registered.
On the other hand, as of December 2017, there are only 12 registered products protected as geographical indications, as mentioned above.

However, strengthening the protection of geographical indications is strongly required in Japan from an international perspective, and considering the benefits of mutual protection with other countries, it is expected that the number of registered products in Japan will increase in the future. You can

The difference between geographical indication protection and regional collective trademark system is explained below.

・The major benefits of protecting geographical indications are that ``the government will crack down on counterfeit products,'' ``If mutual protection is achieved, the scope of protection will extend to other countries,'' and ``Geographical indications with characteristic quality It is possible to demonstrate to the outside world that the product is a manufactured product.

・Protection can be strengthened by registering both systems together.

Deputy Director Patent Attorney Shinji Konno

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