As defined by the World Intellectual Property Organization, “A geographical indication (GI) is a sign used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin.” In order to function as a GI, a sign must identify a product as originating in a given place. In addition, the qualities, characteristics or reputation of the product should be essentially due to the place of origin. Since the qualities depend on the geographical place of production, there is a clear link between the product and its original place of production.
Geographical Indications can be protected in the United States by using trademarks and certification marks. As a trademark, the GI must meet the same criteria as any trademark. Under certification marks however, the owner of a certification mark does not use it and the mark does not indicate the origin of the goods, rather, a certification mark is used by the owner to certify that a product meets its standards.