Geographical Indications of goods in India: An insight

Creativity is the most productive and expensive fruit of human mind, thus every effort is being made to keep this fruit healthy and free from insects of plagiarism”

Geographical indication is one of the seven rights that are being conferred on the creators under Intellectual Property rights. Unlike other categories of IPR’s like Copyright, Trade marks, Industrial designs, Patents, Integrated circuits etc, Geographical Indications with its peculiar features is still in its nascent stage. A GI status is conferred on the goods originated from a particular region and possesses qualities, reputation or characteristics that are specifically attributable to that place of origin. In 1824, France became the first country to develop GI legislation to brand its wines and cheese. Some European countries also followed France example and in the year of 1994, TRIPS (Trade-related aspects of intellectual property rights) agreement under WTO gave a wide coverage to GIs and attracted maximum number of signatories including India. In 1999, Indian Parliament passed geographical indications of goods (Registration and protection) Act that came into effect in 2003.

After possessing GI Status, brand name of the product gets developed that give rise to prices, exports and also protects farmers/artisans against undue competition given by bogus products in the market. Darjeeling tea, Kanchipuram silk saree, Kohhlapari slippers, Meerut scissors are some of the examples of GIs in India. GI is not an exclusive right of the owner but collectively enjoyed by a group of producers, community or even by a nation. The term of a GI registration is ten years which can be renewed after the period of 10 years. Failure to renew the registration will lead to removal of GI sign from the register. Breach of GI right is a criminal offence in India attracting six months prison which may be extended to three years accompanied by fine. Being a cognizable offence, police may conduct search and seizure without any warrant. Thus it protects producer’s interest, boosts healthy competition in the market and safeguard consumers against misleading & bogus products. Present scenario has made it difficult to subscribe with Shakespeare who contemplate that what is there in name? For the sake of economic safety, legal blanket of GI rights is being circulated to keep the fruit of creativity fresh forever.

Country like India which is decorated with diverse culture, tradition and soil can be benefitted to a larger extent with the idea of GIs. No doubt, various challenges are still there which makes implementation of GIs a hard nut to crack. Thousands of goods will qualify for GIs by virtue of huge cultural, ethnic, social and food diversities. Producers of such products are small households and small units often in same area. Hence, it is often difficult to organise them into groups or communities and apply for a GI sign. People are not fully aware about this wonderful legal sword of intellectual property right which has marvellous potential to make their economic battle much easier and convenient.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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DEEPIKA SANGWAN

Deepika Sangwan is a second-year student at Army Institute of Law, Mohali. She is an Editor at college magazine ‘AILITE 2016-2017’. She believes that writing gives clarity & depth to one’s thoughts. Apart from decorating facts with reasoning, cycling is her favourite pass time.

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