The Status of Geographical Indications in India: A Short Review

The Status of Geographical Indications in India: A Stellarix Review

Nikhil Dattawadkar1 and Harit Mohan1, 2

1Intellectual property division, Stellarix Consultancy Services Pvt. Ltd., India

2 harit.mohan@stellarix.com | (+91) 141-511-1443

1. Introduction to Geographical Indication (GI)

A geographical indication is an indication or a sign which specifies the geographical origin of the product and links it with the essential qualities that are present in the product due to that place of the origin. It is mainly used to identify the agricultural, handicraft, manufacturing goods from the particular territory which has developed a good will in the market due to the special characteristics like temperature, humidity, soil etc. associated with the territory that are unique, eg. Darjeeling tea. The geographical indication is generally owned by a community which belongs to that particular location. A geographical indication can be a mark defined by the words or numbers or may be combination of both. Goods or packages used to indicate the place of origin of the goods. In international transaction, marks of origin include marks of the country of origin and geographical indications.
Under the TRIPS Agreement, countries are under no obligation to extend protection to a particular geographical indication unless that geographical indication is protected in the country of its origin. India signed TRIPS agreement in 1995, in order to comply with the TRIPS agreements India started giving protection for Geographical Indication from 15th September 2003.

2. Why Geographical Indication (GI) need protection?

Registering Geographical Indication is always beneficial as the owner can prevent others from unauthorized usage or from commercializing of the registered product. However the registration of GI is not mandatory in India, unregistered GI are protected under passing off cases, but it’s always advisable to register the geographical origin as no further proof is required.

3. Who can apply for GI?

Geographical indication is generally owned by a community. Any organization or association of people established under law can apply for geographical indication in prescribed format indicating the interest of the producers of the concern goods.

4. What does not qualify for GI?

The following are the geographical indications that cannot be registered in India:

  1. Things which are determined to be generic names or indications of goods and are, therefore, not or ceased to be protected in their country of origin, or which have fallen into disuse in that country
  2. Things which comprise or contain any matter likely to hurt the religious susceptibilities of any class or section of the citizens of India
  3. Things which would otherwise be disentitled to protection in a court
  4. The use of which would be likely to deceive or cause confusion
  5. The use of which would be contrary to any law for the time being in force
  6. Things which comprise or contain scandalous or obscene matter
  7. Things 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.

5. How to register for GI?

An application shall be made in the prescribed format with the Form GI-1.

  1. A registration of GI for any product shall be included in any one class; or
  2. An application to register a GI for a specification of goods included in any class from a convention country; or
  3. A single application is required for the registration of the GI from any class; or

GI registry is located in Chennai in India, applicant must file an application at the Chennai office. Along with it applicant must fulfill the various requirements and criteria defined in the GI rules. The applicant must give the following details/ documents.

6. Trends on GI filling in India

6.1 GI Registration Trend in Indian Sectors

6.2 Indian States vs No. of Geographical Indications

6.3 Filing trend of Geographical Indications in India

7. Few Untapped Potential Geographical Indications

Sr. No.

Possible Products

State

1

Balarampuram Fine Cotton Sarees

Kerala

2

Sambalpur Sarees

Orissa

3

Bomkai Saree & Fabrics

Orissa

4

Chanderi Muslin Sarees

Madhya Pradesh

5

Maheswar Sarees In Silk Texture

Madhya Pradesh

6

Patola Sarees

Gujarat

7

Lucknow Chikan Craft

Uttar Pradesh

8

Varanasi Sarees & Brocades

Uttar Pradesh

9

Baluchari Sarees &Dress Materials

West Bengal

10

Mahabaleshwar Strawberry

Maharashtra

11

Hyderabad Biryani

Andra Pradesh

 

9. Key takeaways from study

  1. A total of 157 GIs has been registered as yet in India.
  2. Most of the GI has been registered in handicraft (99) followed by agriculture sector (42)
  3. Karnataka is leading in GI filler with 30 GI followed by Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Tamil Nadu having 18 GI each.
  4. Goa, Nagaland and Punjab are at the bottom of the list having only a single GI.
  5. The filing trend for GI has been increasing since the year 2004 with maximum 45 application filed in the year APR 08-MARCH 09.
  6. There is an utmost requirement to create awareness about the geographical indication in India as there is a huge potential to have number of GI registered.
  7. India has, according to a survey, over 3,000 potential GIs, which need to be protected.
  8. Till now, only 238 applications have been filed before the authorities for the purpose of registering equal number of items, and, of them, 151 have so far been registered.

10. Reference

  1. IP India

 

The Status of Geographical Indications in India: A Stellarix Review

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