Geographical Indications Committee
The Wine Australia Act establishes a Geographical Indications Committee (GIC) with its primary role being to consider applications for the registration and omission of new Australian and foreign GIs. The administrative role of the GIC is set out in the Wine Australia Act and Regulations. The GIC has legal authority to make all administrative decisions relating to the omission and determination of GIs in Australia having regard to the criteria set out in the Act, and in accordance with the administrative processes prescribed under the Act.
In accordance with the Wine Australia Act, the GIC consist of three members:
- a Presiding Member appointed by Wine Australia: Dennis Mutton, re-appointed in November 2016;
- a WFA - nominated member: Phillip Laffer, re-appointed in November 2016; and
- a WGGA (Australian Vignerons) - nominated member: Peter Hayes, appointed in November 2016.
Each member of the current committee holds office for a period of three years from appointment or reappointment.
The GIC is provided with administrative support from the Registrar of Geographical Indications and Other Terms (Registrar). That position is currently held by Rachel Triggs, Wine Australia’s General Counsel.
Applications for the determination of new geographical indications
The GIC requires an application from an individual winemaker or winegrape grower or an association or declared organisation representing growers and/or winemakers. An application form for Australian GIs is available from the Registrar of Protected GIs and Other Terms (see contact details below).
The current application fee is $27,500 (inc GST) and must be paid before an application is accepted and additional fees may be charged as necessary on a cost-recovery basis.
An application cannot be considered until trade mark owners (or those with applications pending) or other persons have been invited to object, through the Registrar of Trade Marks, to the proposed GI on the basis that it is likely to cause confusion with their trade mark or the proposed GI is used in Australia as the common name of a type or style of wine or as a name of variety of grapes. The grounds for objection are complex. The Registrar’s decision can be appealed to the Federal Court.
When assessing an application for a GI, the GIC must consider relevant criteria (see section 57 of the Wine Australia Regulations 2018) and must consult with any declared wine growers’ or winemakers organisations (Australian GI applications only). It may also consult any other organisation or individual.
The GIC will make an interim determination which is published in the Commonwealth Government Notices Gazette and the prospective region’s local newspaper. Comments are considered by the GIC prior to making a final determination.
Appeals against the final determination must be made to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) within 28 days. Appeals against an AAT decision can be lodged with the Federal Court. At the end of this process the GI is entered into the Register of Protected Geographical Indications and Other Terms.
A guidance document on submitting applications for new Australian geographical indications is available here.
For information about label claims and blending regulations with respect to GIs see Labelling.
Further information is available from:
General Counsel and Registrar of Protected Geographical Indications and Other Terms
(08) 8228 2003