Regulating web use of geographical indications
Malaysia has a new Geographical Indications Act which provides for the protection of geographical indications in line with obligations under the Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights.
A geographical indication identifies goods as originating in a country or territory, or a specific region or locality, where a given quality, reputation or other characteristic of the goods is essentially attributable to their geographical origin.
The new act provides additional remedies against unlawful users of geographical indications on the Web, including injunctive relief and damages. For example, if a person registers the domain name 'champagne.com.my' to sell in Malaysia wine that has been produced in Spain, genuine producers from the Champagne region of France may institute proceedings against the website owner for violating the act (in addition to the common law of passing off). This is regardless of whether the producers' geographical indication is registered in Malaysia.
Janini Rajeswaran and Darren Kor, Zul Rafique & Partners, Kuala Lumpur
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