GI Protection in North America


i.General description

In Canada Geographical Indications are protected through certification marks. The Trademarks Act contains specific rules concerning the protection of Geographical Indications for wines and spirits.


ii. Legal Framework

Trademarks Act of 1985, as amended in 1996


iii. Practical Information

The Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) is an authority in charge of registration of trademarks.



i. General description

In Mexico Geographical Indications enjoy a  sui generis protection.


ii. Legal Framework

Industrial Property Law (as last amended on April 9, 2012)

Regulation of the Law on Industrial Property


iii. Practical Information

The Mexican Institute of Intellectual Property (IMPI) is the administration responsible for registration.


United States of America

i. General description

In the United States Geographical Indications are protected as trademarks, collective or certification marks according to the existing trademark regime[1]. The Lanham Trademark Act apply to all goods and services.  Geographical Indication in USA can also be protected through common law trademark law without being registered by the USPTO[2].


ii. Legal framework:

The Lanham Trademark Act of 1946, as amended (US Trade Mark Law)

The Alcoholic Beverage Labelling Act of 1988


iii. Practical Information:

The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is the authority responsible for the registration of all trademarks.

The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) regulates the use of geographical Indications on alcoholic beverages, including wines and spirits.

How To Protect Distinctive Regional Product in the United States, Dewey & LeBoeuf Memorandum

“American Origin Products (AOPs): Protecting a Legacy” oriGIn Handbook



[1] Geographical Indication Protection in the United States, United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)
[2] See: Institut National Des Appellations v. Brown-Forman Corp, 47 USPQ2d 1875, 1884 (TTAB 1998)






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