Once a geographical indication (GI) is registered in New Zealand, there are restrictions on its use. These are outlined in sections 21-25 of the GI Act.
Any breach of these restrictions is a breach of the misleading conduct provisions in the Fair Trading Act 1986 – in particular, that “No person shall, in trade, engage in conduct that is misleading or deceptive or is likely to mislead or deceive.”
For example, if a wine is labelled with a GI, but the wine doesn’t originate from the geographical area, the producer could be found to have breached this provision.
It’s the responsibility of the person(s) who registered the GI, or those who benefit from it, to take any enforcement action. They can:
- make a complaint to the Commerce Commission
- take civil action through the High Court.
The Commerce Commission enforces legislation that promotes competition in New Zealand markets and prohibits misleading and deceptive conduct by traders. The Commission doesn’t give advice or take civil actions on behalf of the public.