a) Qualification of Rights
Any person, whether the applicant or a third party, desiring to request for a qualification of the rights conferred in respect of a registered GI in relation to any name contained in the GI or any term which may be a possible translation of the GI, may submit the request at any time after the date of the publication of the application for registration of the GI and before a GI is registered.
A request may not be made if the qualification of rights would render registration of a name contained in a GI or a term which may be a possible translation of a GI null. In such a case, the amendments to the Act clarified that where a request to qualify the rights of a GI would effectively nullify that GI, the request should be filed as an opposition or cancellation action instead.
b) Variants of a GI
The Act has also been amended to define “variant”, in relation to a GI, which are interpreted as a variant of the indication constituting the GI, and includes any translation, transliteration or other variation of the indication. Each variant must satisfy the requirements of the GI Act in order to be registered.
The amendments clarified that individual variants of a GI (such as translations, transliterations, or other names used for the same product) may be challenged or rejected, while others proceed to registration. A refusal of registration of a variant does not prevent any other variant of the GI from being registered if that other variant satisfies the requirements of the GI Act.
c) Post-Registration Qualification of Rights and Limitation of Scope
While the qualification of rights mechanism continues to be available for GI that have not yet been registered under the amended Act, the process for post-registration qualification of rights has been removed.
For disputes as to the scope of the protection conferred upon a registered GI post-registration, a new judicial process has been be introduced to deal with such matters. Any person may apply to the High Court at any time after the registration of a GI for an order that a limitation of scope in relation to any name or rights contained in the registered GI or in relation to any term which may be a possible translation of the registered GI to be entered in the register. The application may not be made if the effect of the order that a limitation of scope be entered in the register is to render registration of the name or term null. In such a case, an application for cancellation of the GI or variant constituting the GI should be made instead of making an application for an order to enter a limitation of scope in the register. Cancellation of the registration of a variant constituting a GI does not affect any rights in respect of the registration of any other variant constituting that GI.