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Importance of Geographical Indication Tags in India

calendar22 Dec, 2022
timeReading Time: 5 Minutes
Importance of Geographical Indication Tags in India

The world in which we live is evolving at a rapid pace, making it difficult to determine with certainty the history and origin of a specific meal, a piece of clothing, an exquisite artefact, or a handmade item. Unfortunately, some people do not hesitate to openly and unethically copy and pass those goods or items from another region to exploit popularity from the quality of those goods or items. GI tag is the abbreviation of Geographical Indications tags. The law governing the Geographical Indication tags came into force on 15th September 2003. The first ever GI tag in India was given to Darjeeling Tea. Recently the Government of India has allotted Geographical Indication tag to Kashmir Saffron and Manipuri Black Rice. This article will discuss more such information on Geographical Indication Tags in detail. 

What are Geographical Indication Tags in India?

This label is regarded as a certification that states if the product was made using conventional techniques and specifies particular attributes that confer reputation depending on geographic origins. This makes it possible for the popular product name to be protected from being taken by any authority other than authorised users. Although the idea of geographic indication has been around for centuries, the French were the first to create a formal system to categorise and recognise various products/foods that had unique features and were exclusively produced in or linked with a certain location. They created a system called the “appellation d’origine controlee,” which is now known as the Appellations of Origin and is still in use.

To put it in another way, it is a signal that comes from a certain geographic region. It possesses a specific personality, reputation, and unique characteristics. It inspires confidence and honesty. The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)[1] defines a geographical indication as a distinguishing sign that has a particular provenance, and that highlights the characteristics or traits that the good possesses. The Geographical Indication tag makes sure that only those who have registered as authorised users are permitted to use the well-known brand name. The first GI tag product in India was Darjeeling tea, which given in the year 2004.

The term Geographical Indications are defined under Article 22 (1) of the World Trade Organization Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) as: “Indications which identify a good as originating in the territory of a member, or a region or a locality in that territory, where a given quality, reputation or characteristic of the good is essentially attributable to its geographic origin.” The Paris Convention for the protection of Industrial Property, 1883, under Article 1(2) and Article 10, provides the framework for the protection and safeguarding rules for Geographical Indication. It covers commercial names, service marks, industrial designs, geographical identifiers, and so forth. The Madrid Agreement for Repression of False or Deceptive Indications of Source of Goods, 1891, also talks about Geographical Indication. The concept of GI is also covered under The Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights under Article 22 to Article 24. Here are few examples of GI Tags in India:

S. No Geographical Indications Goods (As per Section 2 (f) of Geographical Indication Act State
1 Salem Fabric Handicraft Tamil Nadu
2 Chanderi Sarees Handicraft Madhya Pradesh
3 Solapur Chadda Handicraft Maharashtra
4 Kota Doria Handicraft Rajasthan
5 Mysore Agarbathi Manufactured Karnataka
6 Goan Khaje Goan Khaje Goa
7 Rataul Mango Agricultural Uttar Pradesh
8 Tamenglong Orange Agricultural Manipu
9 Chamba Chappal Handicraft Himachal Pradesh
10 Uttarakhand Thulma Handicraft Uttarakhand
11 Myndoli Banana Agricultural Goa
12 Banaras Zardozi Handicraft Uttar Pradesh
13 Mirzapur Pital Bartan Handicraft Uttar Pradesh
14 Banaras Wood Carving Handicraft Uttar Pradesh
15 Banaras Hand Block Print Handicraft Uttar Pradesh
16 Kumaon Chyura Oil Agricultural Uttarakhand

Importance of Geographical Indication Tags 

Geographical Indication tags are quite important in the modern world. The list below includes some of them:  

  1. It boosts export in the economy;
  2. Promotes the economic prosperity of producers of Geographical Indication tag goods by enhancing their demand in national and international markets;
  3. It helps in the growth of economic wealth;
  4. It helps consumers to get quality products of desired traits and is assured of authenticity.
  5. It increases the trade and tourism.
  6. It prevents unauthorised use of Geographical Indication Tags products by others.
  7. It prohibits malpractice and avoids sale of low-quality products in the market.

What Type Of Products Can Be Registered As Geographical Indications?

Geographical indications are commonly used for agricultural items, foodstuffs, wine and spirits Drinks, Handicrafts, And Industrial Products.

Legislating That Are Governing Geographical Indication Tags in India

There are three approaches that have been adopted to protect Geographical Indication tags around the world:

  • Focus on business practices, consisting of administrative product approval schemes.
  • Usage of certification marks
  • Special regimes of protection (sui generis systems)

Regarding geographical indication, India has established a sui generis system. The structure mandated by the Geographical Indications Goods (Registration and Protection) Rules, 2002, is operationalized by the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999. Section 2(e) of the Rules defines the term ‘Geographical Indication’.

Any producer, whether an individual, a group of people, an organisation, or a legal entity, may apply for a GI tag. The application must be submitted to the relevant authorities in the correct format and with the appropriate charge. A Geographical Indication tag is only valid for ten years, but it can be periodically renewed for an additional ten years each through subsequent renewals. The Indian Government estimates that approximately 432 Geographical Indications tags have been assigned to various goods.

Grant of Geographical Indication Tags 

The Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act of 1999 governs the granting of the Geographical Indication tag. Any company or producer of commodities is eligible to apply for GI tag. The application must specify the kind of goods to which it will apply as well as a geographical map of the territory or region in the nation where the goods are manufactured. It must be presented with a certain fee and in the appropriate format, along with a signature.

Authorities will evaluate and examine the application.  A product with a GI tag prohibits unauthorised usage of the goods and increases financial gain for the producers by exporting the product. The price of a GI product rises on the international market as exports rise. According to Section 21 of the GI Act, registration grants the right to launch a lawsuit for infringement. According to Section 23, there is prima facie proof of the ownership and validity of GI.

According to the Act, the “Registrar of Geographical Indications” is the Controller-General of Patents, Designs, and Trade Marks under the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, Ministry of Commerce and Industry. The Geographical Indications Registry is administered and supervised by the Controller General.

Conclusion

A geographical indication or Geographical Indication Tags is a trade name or label applied to particular products that designates a particular geographic region or country of origin. The GI tag’s primary feature is its uniqueness, which guards against any form of third-party misuse. The geographical indication supplied to the good confers the exclusive right on the authorised user. Geographical designation properly acknowledges the value of the commodity. It stops any form of exploitation or deceptive representation. The Geographical Indications of Goods Act specifies the appropriate remedy in cases of infringement. Geographical Indication establishes a clear connection between the product and its place of origin. Darjeeling tea was the country of India’s first GI-tagged product in 2003; since then, 432 products have been added to the growing list.

Read Our Article: Advantages And Disadvantages Of Intellectual Property Rights

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