The long awaited Geographical Indications (Wine and Spirits) Registration Act 2006 (GI Act), and accompanying regulations, look set to be implemented in New Zealand by late July.
Speaking at a New Zealand Winegrowers event on 30 May, the Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs the Honourable Jacqui Dean told winegrowers that “Legislation to enable the wine industry to formally register their geographical indications in New Zealand is on track to come into force in late July”.
A geographical indication (GI) shows that a wine or spirit comes from a specific region, and possesses particular qualities or characteristics as a result.
Currently GIs are primarily protected by the Fair Trading Act 1986 and the common law tort of passing off. GIs may be registered under the Trade Marks Act 2002, including as collective or certification trade marks.
The ability to register regional names for wine and spirits will enable New Zealand wine and spirit makers to:
- promote and protect their product in competitive overseas markets;
- protect their reputation and build value;
- gain access to overseas markets where government-recognised GIs are required;
- register New Zealand GIs overseas;
- give consumers confidence in a product’s authenticity, assuring them of its value for money; and
- take action against false claims of origin.
In addition to New Zealand GIs, the new Register will recognise enduring New Zealand GIs (“New Zealand”, “North Island” and “South Island”), foreign GIs registered and applied for in New Zealand, foreign GIs registered as part of international trade agreements, and GIs recognised by statute.
Ms Dean said “Bringing the Geographical Indications (Wines and Spirits) Registration Act and Regulations into force will ensure we can maintain and enhance the reputation of New Zealand wines and spirits”.
If you are interested in registering a geographical indication in New Zealand, or would like to find out more about geographical indications and what they protect, please contact a member of our team today.