India’s first GI was registered in 2004 & by January 11, 2018, The GI Registry, India has granted registration to around 610 GI’s which includes GI’s of handicrafts, agricultural products, for manufactured products, foodstuff and textile products.
Products that have some qualities or reputation because of their own specific geographical origin are marked with a geographical indication. It is mostly granted to natural, manufactured, handicrafts, agricultural products that originates from a specific geographical area.
Article 22 of the TRIPS Agreements & Section 2(1)(g) of the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999 talks about Geographical Indication. Here, GI is defined as an indication to identify whether the goods for which the quality, reputation or any other specific characteristic is of great value are originating from a member territory or from a region or locality in that territory. The value attributed to the goods are because of their geographical origin.
India became a member of TRIPS Agreement and in 1999, Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act was enacted with a threefold objective:
- By enacting a specific law to govern the geographical indication of goods in the country would lead to protect the interest of producers of such goods efficiently,
- To protect the consumers from any kind of deception by eliminating the unauthorized persons from exploiting geographical indications,
- For the promotion of Indian geographically indicated goods in the export market.
Geographical indications are registered under sec 8 for any or all the goods that are comprised within a particular class. A third party cannot use a registered geographical indication by a way of designating or presenting that such goods originated in that geographical territory.
Sec 9 provides a list of GIs that cannot get registered and sec 10 talks about the registration of those GI’s which have same spelling or pronunciation but have different meaning and are an indicator of origin of different nation, specifically called as the homonymous GI’s.
A GI belongs to a particular community unlike the other IP rights that belongs to a particular individual and because of this difference the GI registration application is not filed by an individual but by the association of persons, producers, organisations or any other authority who has a significant interest in the concerned goods.
A registered GI is protected for a period of 10 years and they can be renewed timely by paying the renewal fees, in accordance with the provisions of Sec 18.
A trademark and GI are different from each other and the major differences include:
Collective mark is a mark that marks the difference of one group of products from other products that do not belong from the region it is offering protection.
The Geographical Indications (GI) Registry, Chennai, rejected the plea by the applicant for removal of G.I tag against “Tirupati Laddu”.
For example, there are two geographical indications concerning Darjeeling Tea. One uses the word spelled “DARJEELING TEA VIDE” & the other uses a symbol for the word Darjeeling tea.
It was held by the Tea Board that any third party can be prohibited by the Registered Proprietor of Darjeeling Tea from using the term “Darjeeling” for the tea produced or grown in their gardens. The tea produced & grown is not produced in accordance with the standards made for the registered Geographical Indication.