PUBLISHED BY MS HARINDER NARVAN, MS APARNA JAIN AND MS AASHRIKA AHUJA AS ON 06.11.2023
A geographical indication (GI) is a sign used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities owing to specific location. 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 indication tag enables those who have the right to prevent its use by a third party who are not original owners. Geographical indications are typically used for agricultural products, foodstuffs, wine and spirit drinks, handicrafts, and industrial products. At present, 504 products have received GI tag in India. A registered GI is valid for 10 years in India and can be subsequently renewed thereafter. Darjeeling tea, was the first to get a registered GI tag in India in the year 2004. The top 5 states holding maximum number of GIs are Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala. Tea and Muga Silk from Assam to Oranges and Wines from Maharashtra, Bidriware and Kasuti Embroidery from Karnataka to Blue Pottery of Rajasthan, Banaras Zardozi and Lucknow Chikan Craft from Uttar Pradesh to Basmati and Tamta Products from Uttarakhand, Chamba Rumal and Kullu Shawl from Himachal Pradesh to Screw Pine Craft and Dhoties & Mundu from Kerala, Saffron and Pashmina Shawls from Kashmir to Silver Filigree and Pattachitra Painting of Odisha are some of the popular products in India that have GI Tag. India has also earned a reputation worldwide with respect to rich local art and craft, proudcts and foodstuffs.
In the year 2023, the European Commission (EC) has granted protected geographical indication (PGI) for India’s unique Kangra tea, which is grown in Himachal Pradesh’s Kangra district. This itself attests to the fact the kind of boost GI recognition can lend to a particular community or a country. Government efforts both at the central and state level have been strengthened recently to give more effective protection to GI. Individual states are being encouraged to help their craftsmen and farmers by educating them about GI certifications as well as assisting them with the promotion and sales of GI products. GI handbooks showcasing the GI tags of the state are also being issued. An INR 750 million outlay was sanctioned recently by the government for an awareness program over the next three years to support the promotion of Indian GIs as well as showcasing Indian GI products at several events. For online sales, the government is also looking towards setting up a digital portal with details of certification bodies accessible to the public. In 2023, brainstorming session ‘GI Manthan’ was held which brought to the forefront some useful points for consideration – apart from easier GI registration processes and spreading of awareness, discussions also centred on quality control. All such initiatives are working towards strengthening the entire eco system.
BENEFIT OFACQUIRING GI TAG
Protecting a geographical indication (GI) enables those who have the right to use the indication to take measures against others who use it without permission and benefit from its reputation (“free-riders”). A geographical indication’s reputation is a valuable, collective, and intangible asset. If not protected, it could be used without restriction and its value diminished and eventually lost. Protecting a GI is also a way to prevent registration of the indication as a trademark by a third party and to limit the risk of the indication becoming a generic term. A GI Tag, can be source of competitive advantage, add more value to a product, increase export opportunities and strengthen a brand
WHAT CANNOT BE REGISTERED AS GI ?
For registrability, the indications must fall within the scope of section 2(1)e of GI Act, 1999. The product should not be such –
- the use of which would be likely to deceive or cause confusion
- the use of which would be contrary to any law
- which comprises or contains scandalous or obscene matter
- which comprises or contains any matter likely to hurt religion of any Indian citizen
- which are determined to be generic names
- which although literally true as to the territory region or locality in which the goods originate, but falsely represent to the persons that the goods originate in another territory, region or locality as the case may be.
STEPS FOR REGISTRATION :-
- Application should be filed in triplicate by association of persons or producers or any organization or authority representing the interest of producers of the concerned goods. They should file an affidavit how the applicant claims to represent their interest.
- The application shall be signed by the applicant or his agent and must be accompanied by a statement of case.
- Three certified copies of the map of the region to which the GI relates must be attached with application.
- The Application is then scrutinised by the Examiner after which an examination report is issued.
- If the Registrar has any objection to the application, the same is communicated with an opportunity to the applicant to respond within two months or apply for a hearing.
- Every application, within three months of acceptance is published in the Geographical Indications Journal.
- Any person can file a notice of opposition within three months opposing the GI application published in the Journal.
- Where an application for a GI has been accepted, the registrar shall register the geographical indication. If registered the date of filing of the application shall be deemed to be the date of registration.
- The registrar shall issue to the applicant a certificate with the seal of the Geographical indications registry.
Geographical indications (GIs) have become a key intellectual property rights (IPRs) concern in the Indian environment in recent years. The protection of geographical names and signs of origin prevents the unauthorised use of geographical names or signs of origin on items that do not originate in the designated region and do not fulfil the appropriate requirements or qualities. The GI Act, 1999 grants legal protection to commodities that are produced in a certain geographical region and have unique traits, characteristics, and reputations connected with that location. In addition to defending the product from misuse and copying, the GI tag also raises its market value and aids in its promotion in both domestic and international markets. The Indian government has taken steps to modernise the administrative system that governs Intellectual Property Rights (IPR). Projects aimed at modernising IPR offices are designed to shorten the application procedure, making it more convenient and encouraging domestic products to seek IPR protection. The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) has launched a standard logo and tagline as one of the various measures to promote and market GIs. The nation is vigorously promoting the ‘Aatmanirbhar’ and ‘Vocal for Local’ statuses, which were inspired by Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi. Knowledgentia Consultants which is the best law firm in India not only adapts to the changing legal scenario but also makes the transition for clients easy and accessible. We are your one-stop solution for all kinds of legal, compliance and supplemental matters concerning GI Tags. In case of any query regarding this matter you may email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website -https://knowledgentia.com/.