Indications géographiques; Brevets (y compris la protection des variétés végétales); Schémas de configuration (topographies) de circuits intégrés
4. We understand that legislation on geographical indications, protection of plant varieties, and protection of integrated circuit topographies is being drafted. (a) What protection is currently afforded to geographical indications, protection of plant varieties, and protection of integrated circuit topographies, and how does such protection accord with TRIPS obligations? (b) When is such legislation likely to be effectively implemented? (c) What are the key improvements introduced by such legislation in respect of TRIPS obligations?
The Protection of Layout-Designs (Topographies) of Integrated Circuits Act was passed and came into force on 5th November 2007. Legislation on the protection of plant varieties has not yet been passed but a draft bill has been circulated to key stakeholders for their comments and recommendations. The Geographical Indications Act was passed in 2007 and came into effect on 1st November 2016. Geographical indications in the strictest sense were not protected prior to this legislation but collective marks are protectable under the trademark legislation. In keeping with Arts. 22 to 24 of the TRIPS provisions on geographical indications, the Act provides protection • to an indication which identifies any goods as originating in the territory of a country or a region or locality in that territory where a given quality, reputation or other characteristic of the particular goods is essentially attributable to its geographical indication; (section 2) • to a geographical indication even if it has not been registered, however registration of a GI offers a higher level of protection; (section 3) • Against a geographical indication which gives a false representation to the public that the goods originate in another territory than the one it actually derives from. This provision shall be enforceable even if the GI is literally true as to the territory, region or locality in which the goods originate; (section 3) and • in respect of homonymous geographical indications for wines, protection shall be given to each indication. Where necessary, the Registrar shall determine practical conditions for differentiating homonymous indications from each other. The Registrar shall be guided in such cases by the need to ensure equitable treatment of the producers concerned and to ensure that consumers are not misled. The right of use of a geographical indication shall be restricted to a producer carrying on activity in the geographical area specified in the Register, in the course of trade and only in respect of the products specified in the Register where such products possess the quality, reputation or other characteristic set out in the Register. Under section 12 of the Act, the level of protection extends to the possibility of • invalidating the registration of a GI on the ground that the GI does not qualify for protection, • rectifying the registration of a GI on the ground that, • the geographical area specified in the registration does not correspond to the geographical indication, and • the indication of the products for which the geographical indication is used or the indication of the quality, reputation or other characteristic of such products is missing or unsatisfactory. Section 13 allows proceedings to prevent the unlawful use of geographical indications or to prevent a use which constitutes an act of unfair competition within the meaning of Article 10bis of the Paris Convention. The Registrar also has power to refuse or invalidate the registration of a trademark which contains or consists of a geographical indication with respect to goods not originating in the territory indicated, if use of the indication in the trademark for such goods in Saint Kitts and Nevis is of such a nature as to mislead the public as to the true place or origin of such goods (s. 14). The Registrar additionally has power to invalidate or refuse a mark that conflicts with a GI for wines and spirits.